(a) If the only dispute is the amount of payment and the provider has received a second review that did not resolve the dispute, the provider may request an independent bill review within 30 calendar days of service of the second review pursuant to Section 4603.2 or 4622. If the provider fails to request an independent bill review within 30 days, the bill shall be deemed satisfied, and neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for any further payment. If the employer has contested liability for any issue other than the reasonable amount payable for services, that issue shall be resolved prior to filing a request for independent bill review, and the time limit for requesting independent bill review shall not begin to run until the resolution of that issue becomes final, except as provided for in Section 4622.
(b) A request for independent review shall be made on a form prescribed by the administrative director, and shall include copies of the original billing itemization, any supporting documents that were furnished with the original billing, the explanation of review, the request for second review together with any supporting documentation submitted with that request, and the final explanation of the second review. The administrative director may require that requests for independent bill review be submitted electronically. A copy of the request, together with all required documents, shall be served on the employer. Only the request form and the proof of payment of the fee required by subdivision (c) shall be filed with the administrative director. Upon notice of assignment of the independent bill reviewer, the requesting party shall submit the documents listed in this subdivision to the independent bill reviewer within 10 days.
(c) The provider shall pay to the administrative director a fee determined by the administrative director to cover no more than the reasonable estimated cost of independent bill review and administration of the independent bill review program. The administrative director may prescribe different fees depending on the number of items in the bill or other criteria determined by regulation adopted by the administrative director. If any additional payment is found owing from the employer to the medical provider, the employer shall reimburse the provider for the fee in addition to the amount found owing.
(d) Upon receipt of a request for independent bill review and the required fee, the administrative director or the administrative director's designee shall assign the request to an independent bill reviewer within 30 days and notify the medical provider and employer of the independent reviewer assigned.
(e) The independent bill reviewer shall review the materials submitted by the parties and make a written determination of any additional amounts to be paid to the medical provider and state the reasons for the determination. If the independent bill reviewer deems necessary, the independent bill reviewer may request additional documents from the medical provider or employer. The employer shall have no obligation to serve medical reports on the provider unless the reports are requested by the independent bill reviewer. If additional documents are requested, the parties shall respond with the documents requested within 30 days and shall provide the other party with copies of any documents submitted to the independent reviewer, and the independent reviewer shall make a written determination of any additional amounts to be paid to the medical provider and state the reasons for the determination within 60 days of the receipt of the administrative director's assignment. The written determination of the independent bill reviewer shall be sent to the administrative director and provided to both the medical provider and the employer.
(f) The determination of the independent bill reviewer shall be deemed a determination and order of the administrative director. The determination is final and binding on all parties unless an aggrieved party files with the appeals board a verified appeal from the medical bill review determination of the administrative director within 20 days of the service of the determination. The medical bill review determination of the administrative director shall be presumed to be correct and shall be set aside only upon clear and convincing evidence of one or more of the following grounds for appeal:
(1) The administrative director acted without or in excess of his or her powers.
(2) The determination of the administrative director was procured by fraud.
(3) The independent bill reviewer was subject to a material conflict of interest that is in violation of Section 139.5.
(4) The determination was the result of bias on the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability.
(5) The determination was the result of a plainly erroneous express or implied finding of fact, provided that the mistake of fact is a matter of ordinary knowledge based on the information submitted for review and not a matter that is subject to expert opinion.
(g) If the determination of the administrative director is reversed, the dispute shall be remanded to the administrative director to submit the dispute to independent bill review by a different independent review organization. In the event that a different independent bill review organization is not available after remand, the administrative director shall submit the dispute to the original bill review organization for review by a different reviewer within the organization. In no event shall the appeals board or any higher court make a determination of ultimate fact contrary to the determination of the bill review organization.
(h) Once the independent bill reviewer has made a determination regarding additional amounts to be paid to the medical provider, the employer shall pay the additional amounts per the timely payment requirements set forth in Sections 4603.2 and 4603.4.
(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 39.)