Joined: May 2007
Monday September 01, 2008 3:55 PM
Medical treatment is the backbone of the California Workers Compensation system and is the key to injured workers returning to work. The complex legal nature of treating industrial injuries in the post-SB899 era; trying to navigating MP, UR and ACOEM denials requires an expertise and skill set of a unique sort.
Medical treatment liens are a major issue at the WCAB. Often the litigation after the settlement of a claim is more involved than the case-in-chief. The only way the issues can be successfully resolved is through experience, research and effective litigation. That is what distinguishes an average collector from an exceptional collector. When issues arise, familiar or foreign, S.A. Schoenkopf & Associates has the experience and skill to address those issues to the benefit of their clients.
Scott Schoenkopf has established himself as a well-respected and established Workers Compensation Collections Specialist who keeps up to date on all these changes, who is able to identify the issues and effectively argue those issues to the benefit of the medical providers he represents. Mr. Schoenkopf performs all of the WCAB collection and litigation services required to fully recover you liens including Trial preparation, organizing/serving exhibits, drafting legal pleadings such as trial briefs, Appeals for Reconsideration, Petition for Costs/Sanctions, Objections to Notice of Intent to Disallow, etc.
S.A. Schoenkopf will successfully recover your entitled reimbursement on Workers Compensation claims.
" Aggressive collections on liens/outstanding bills
o Additional Penalty & interest
o Challenge bill review recommendations
" Lien filing/tracking
" WCAB representation
o Lien trials
" Legal Pleadings
o Trial Briefs
o Objection to NOI to Disallow
o Petition for costs/sanction
o Appeal for reconsideration (RECON)
o Answer/response to defense pleadings
" A/R Tracking
" Knowledge of current and applicable statute and regulation
o Labor Code
o Administrative Regulations (CCR Title 8)
o Case Law as it pertains to Workers Compensation liens
Does your current collection service really fight for the money that you are entitled to? The only possible way to effectively do that is to obtain the necessary knowledge of not only your practice and business but the issues surrounding that business in Workers Compensation. This knowledge changes year-to-year and day-to-day. The climate of the WCAB ebbs and flows. The method in which liens were settled or even filed is not the same today as it was a year ago, which is different than it was five (5) years ago.
Quite often Workers compensation professionals will introduce themselves by stating their resume: My name is Bob and I have been doing work comp. for 20 years. Are those 20 years relevant to todays climate? If Bob has kept informed and done the necessary research to stay informed then yes those are 20 valuable years. However, chances are that Bob has relied solely on his prior experience and continues to argue and collect based on outdated principles. The new millennium of the WCAB creates new challenges and contemporary skills.
Experience should not be discounted but different areas of treatment present different questions. The individual(s) that you have relied on and entrusted need the answers to those questions and more often than not, there is more than one answer. The standard collector does not know where to even begin to look for those answers. The Labor Code, the Rules of the Administrative Director, Case Law, legislature, etc. is ever-changing. S.A. Schoenkopf not only knows where to look but also how to articulate the answer in a way that presents THAT is the only answer.
More and more insurance carriers dig in their heels and insist that rather than pay your bill at a reasonable rate, they will litigate your lien before the WCAB. When your lien is set on calendar for a Lien Trial, what do you do? There are issues present that may appear to work against you, but that is not always the case. Carriers have become accustomed to bullying lien claimants because they are big business with the resources to be represented by attorneys at any hearing level. For most lien claimants it is not cost effective to outlay these litigation costs.
In the event that a lien claimant is forced to go to trial, who do you rely on to prepare for such? If you have an in-house collector or even a lien recovery service, you may get as far as getting exhibits served. The WCAB is not Superior Court and a Lien Trial is not the dramatic affair you see on television. Very little of what the Workers Compensation Judge (WCJ) relies on is based on oral arguments, rather very rarely does the WCJ review the case and evidence in a time frame from which any oral presentation would be recalled. However documentation is reviewed quite thoroughly; whether it be medical reporting, deposition transcripts or written argument. You dont have to be an attorney to write a legal argument or to litigate lien claims before the WCAB. Mr. Schoenkopf, President of S.A. Schoenkopf & Associates, has a remarkable talent for articulating ideas and arguments in writing. He is not an attorney, but was a journalism major which combined with his work comp knowledge enables him to effectively argue issues without ever setting foot in the WCAB.
Attorneys love to file briefs, petitions and other fairly simple legal pleadings as it has a two pronged effect; it creates more billable hours for their firm and also intimidates lien claimants. This strategy can easily be reversed. Being able to respond to these pleadings effectively goes a long way. With each pleading in reverse, defense attorneys are forced to respond, and of course their client is billed. At some point, it is simply more cost effective for the carrier to reimburse the lien claimant than to continue to pay their attorney fees and still run the risk of paying your lien claim.
There are different strategies and approaches beyond the standard collection efforts of simply sending a demand letter every time a patient account is visited. The best opening strategy is always to be organized and not intimidated. Most defense attorneys are assigned files in order to litigate the original case-in-chief, not the liens and the issues of lien claims is often times a realm in which attorneys are not as well versed as they may seem. Organizing and serving required documents and showing that you are prepared to go to the mat for your reimbursement goes a very long way in resolving your lien before an actual trial takes place. The question is if you have somebody in your corner that has the ability to facilitate that preparation and reverse the intimidation.
S.A Schoenkopf & Associates
P.O. Box 78087
Corona, Ca 92877-0136
Edited: Tuesday September 02, 2008 at 10:04 AM by NADdmecollector