Physician challenges constitutionality of $150 filing fee on certain medical liens

This is a published decision of the appellate court

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.

A physician and surgeon who provides services to workers’ compensation patients filed a writ with the court of appeal. The doctor alleges that prior to passage of SB 863 he would submit bills for payment and they would be paid or denied and he could file for a hearing.

After passage of SB 863 the physician indicates that if the insurer does not pay or only partially pays his bill for services he has to pay a fee to file his lien.

He indicates that he has multiple liens and does not have the “personal reserves” to pay the filing fees. He indicates SB 863 prevents him from assigning the accounts to secure financing. Therefore, he avoids providing care on a lien basis to applicants who have been denied treatment. He is not allowed to bill the applicant directly.

The court reviewed section 4903.5 and concluded that the $150 filing fee was a valid restriction on the right to file a petition. The fee was constructed to fight “lien abuse” and improve the functioning of an “out of control” lien abuse system. The fee was designed to prevent abuse of the system. The court indicates there is also a way for lien claimant to get reimbursed for the filing fee. Therefore, the court did not find the filing fee violated the constitution. Three applicants also filed for a writ of mandate but were deemed to lack standing.

Case: Chorn v. WCAB

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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