Some payors have adopted a policy of refusing to discuss negotiating a provider's liens until the provider of the services demonstrates that it filed a lien and paid the applicable lien filing or activation fee. The division stated that such a policy is unsupported by law and contrary to the legislative intent. If a claims administrator has a reasonable grounds to contend that nothing is owed, then good-faith negotiation does not necessarily require an offer of compromise. In the absence of a good-faith contention that nothing is owed, a refusal to negotiate prior to payment of the filing fee would not be in good faith. The division pointed out that the regulations provide that insurers, self-insured employers, and third-party administrators must deal fairly and in good faith with all claimants, including lien claimants. Also, the moving party is required to state that it made a genuine good-faith effort to resolve the dispute before filing the declaration of readiness. Forcing a provider to file a lien and pay the filing or activation fee before the payor will discuss informal resolution of their billing amount could expose the payor to sanctions, attorney's fees, and costs.
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April 15, 2013
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