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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 3136

2nd Engrossment - 82nd Legislature (2001 - 2002) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 2nd Engrossment

  1.1                          A bill for an act 
  1.2             relating to workers' compensation; modifying payment 
  1.3             provisions; modifying intervention procedures; 
  1.4             changing the calculation of special fund assessments; 
  1.5             amending Minnesota Statutes 2000, sections 176.092, 
  1.6             subdivision 1, by adding a subdivision; 176.106, 
  1.7             subdivision 6; 176.111, subdivision 22; 176.129, 
  1.8             subdivisions 7, 9, by adding subdivisions; 176.130, 
  1.9             subdivisions 8, 9; 176.139, subdivision 2; 176.155, 
  1.10            subdivision 2; 176.181, subdivision 3; 176.182; 
  1.11            176.185, subdivision 5a; 176.194, subdivision 3; 
  1.12            176.361; 176.84, subdivision 2; Minnesota Statutes 
  1.13            2001 Supplement, sections 176.103, subdivision 3; 
  1.14            176.129, subdivisions 10, 13; 176.194, subdivision 4; 
  1.15            repealing Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, 
  1.16            subdivisions 3, 4, 4a. 
  1.18     Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.092, 
  1.19  subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
  1.20     Subdivision 1.  [WHEN REQUIRED.] An injured employee or a 
  1.21  dependent under section 176.111 who is a minor or an 
  1.22  incapacitated person as that term is defined in section 525.54, 
  1.23  subdivision 2 or 3, shall have a guardian or conservator to 
  1.24  represent the interests of the employee or dependent in 
  1.25  obtaining compensation according to the provisions of this 
  1.26  chapter.  This section applies if the employee receives or is 
  1.27  eligible for permanent total disability benefits, supplementary 
  1.28  benefits, or permanent partial disability benefits totaling more 
  1.29  than $3,000 or a dependent receives or is eligible for 
  1.30  dependency benefits, or if the employee or dependent receives or 
  1.31  is offered a lump sum that exceeds five times the statewide 
  2.1   average weekly wage. 
  2.2      Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.092, is 
  2.3   amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
  2.4      Subd. 1a.  [PARENT AS GUARDIAN.] A parent is presumed to be 
  2.5   the guardian for purposes of this section.  Where the parents of 
  2.6   the employee are divorced, either parent with legal custody may 
  2.7   be considered the guardian for purposes of this section.  
  2.8   Notwithstanding subdivision 1, where the employee receives or is 
  2.9   eligible for a lump sum payment of permanent total disability 
  2.10  benefits, supplementary benefits, or permanent partial 
  2.11  disability benefits totaling more than $3,000 or if the employee 
  2.12  receives or is offered a settlement that exceeds five times the 
  2.13  statewide average weekly wage, the compensation judge shall 
  2.14  review such cases to determine whether benefits should be paid 
  2.15  in a lump sum or through an annuity. 
  2.16     Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2001 Supplement, section 
  2.17  176.103, subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
  2.19  POWERS.] (a) There is created a medical services review board 
  2.20  composed of the commissioner or the commissioner's designee as 
  2.21  an ex officio member, two persons representing chiropractic, one 
  2.22  person representing hospital administrators, one physical 
  2.23  therapist, one registered nurse, and six physicians representing 
  2.24  different specialties which the commissioner determines are the 
  2.25  most frequently utilized by injured employees.  The board shall 
  2.26  also have one person representing employees, one person 
  2.27  representing employers or insurers, and one person representing 
  2.28  the general public.  The members shall be appointed by the 
  2.29  commissioner and shall be governed by section 15.0575.  Terms of 
  2.30  the board's members may be renewed.  The board may appoint from 
  2.31  its members whatever subcommittees it deems appropriate.  
  2.32  Notwithstanding section 15.059, this board does not expire 
  2.33  unless the board no longer fulfills the purpose for which the 
  2.34  board was established, the board has not met in the last 18 
  2.35  months, or the board does not comply with the registration 
  2.36  requirements of section 15.0599, subdivision 3. 
  3.1      The commissioner may appoint alternates for one-year terms 
  3.2   to serve as a member when a member is unavailable.  The number 
  3.3   of alternates shall not exceed one chiropractor, one physical 
  3.4   therapist, one registered nurse, one hospital administrator, 
  3.5   three physicians, one employee representative, one employer or 
  3.6   insurer representative, and one representative of the general 
  3.7   public. 
  3.8      The board shall review clinical results for adequacy and 
  3.9   recommend to the commissioner scales for disabilities and 
  3.10  apportionment.  
  3.11     The board shall review and recommend to the commissioner 
  3.12  rates for individual clinical procedures and aggregate costs.  
  3.13  The board shall assist the commissioner in accomplishing public 
  3.14  education.  
  3.15     In evaluating the clinical consequences of the services 
  3.16  provided to an employee by a clinical health care provider, the 
  3.17  board shall consider the following factors in the priority 
  3.18  listed:  
  3.19     (1) the clinical effectiveness of the treatment; 
  3.20     (2) the clinical cost of the treatment; and 
  3.21     (3) the length of time of treatment.  
  3.22     The board shall advise the commissioner on the adoption of 
  3.23  rules regarding all aspects of medical care and services 
  3.24  provided to injured employees.  
  3.25     (b) The medical services review board may upon petition 
  3.26  from the commissioner and after hearing, issue a warning, a 
  3.27  penalty of $200 per violation, a restriction on providing 
  3.28  treatment that requires preauthorization by the board, 
  3.29  commissioner, or compensation judge for a plan of treatment, 
  3.30  disqualify, or suspend a provider from receiving payment for 
  3.31  services rendered under this chapter if a provider has violated 
  3.32  any part of this chapter or rule adopted under this chapter, or 
  3.33  where there has been a pattern of, or an egregious case of, 
  3.34  inappropriate, unnecessary, or excessive treatment by a 
  3.35  provider.  Any penalties collected under this subdivision shall 
  3.36  be payable to the commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk 
  4.1   safety account.  The hearings are initiated by the commissioner 
  4.2   under the contested case procedures of chapter 14.  The board 
  4.3   shall make the final decision following receipt of the 
  4.4   recommendation of the administrative law judge.  The board's 
  4.5   decision is appealable to the workers' compensation court of 
  4.6   appeals in the manner provided by section 176.421. 
  4.7      (c) The board may adopt rules of procedure.  The rules may 
  4.8   be joint rules with the rehabilitation review panel.  
  4.9      Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.106, 
  4.10  subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
  4.11     Subd. 6.  [PENALTY.] At a conference, if the insurer does 
  4.12  not provide a specific reason for nonpayment of the items in 
  4.13  dispute, the commissioner's designee may assess a penalty of 
  4.14  $300 payable to the commissioner for deposit in the assigned 
  4.15  risk safety account, unless it is determined that the reason for 
  4.16  the lack of specificity was the failure of the insurer, upon 
  4.17  timely request, to receive information necessary to remedy the 
  4.18  lack of specificity.  This penalty is in addition to any penalty 
  4.19  that may be applicable for nonpayment.  
  4.20     Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.111, 
  4.21  subdivision 22, is amended to read: 
  4.22     Subd. 22.  [PAYMENTS TO ESTATE; DEATH OF EMPLOYEE.] In 
  4.23  every case of death of an employee resulting from personal 
  4.24  injury arising out of and in the course of employment where 
  4.25  there are no persons entitled to monetary benefits of dependency 
  4.26  compensation, the employer shall pay to the estate of the 
  4.27  deceased employee the sum of $60,000.  This payment must be made 
  4.28  within 14 days of notice to the insurer of the appointment of a 
  4.29  personal representative of the estate.  Within 14 days of notice 
  4.30  to the insurer of the death of the employee, the insurer must 
  4.31  send notice to the estate, at the deceased employee's last known 
  4.32  address, that this payment will be made after a personal 
  4.33  representative has been appointed by a probate court. 
  4.34     Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, is 
  4.35  amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
  4.36     Subd. 1b.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) For purposes of this section, 
  5.1   the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given 
  5.2   them. 
  5.3      (b) "Paid indemnity losses" means gross benefits paid for 
  5.4   temporary total disability, economic recovery compensation, 
  5.5   permanent partial disability, temporary partial disability, 
  5.6   impairment compensation, permanent total disability, vocational 
  5.7   rehabilitation benefits, or dependency benefits, exclusive of 
  5.8   medical and supplementary benefits.  In the case of policy 
  5.9   deductibles, paid indemnity losses includes all benefits paid, 
  5.10  including the amount below deductible limits. 
  5.11     (c) "Standard workers' compensation premium" means the data 
  5.12  service organization's designated statistical reporting pure 
  5.13  premium after the application of experience rating plan 
  5.14  adjustments, but prior to the application of premium discounts, 
  5.15  policyholder dividends, other premium adjustments, expense 
  5.16  constants, and other deviations from the designated statistical 
  5.17  reporting pure premium. 
  5.18     Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, is 
  5.19  amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
  5.20     Subd. 2a.  [PAYMENTS TO FUND.] (a) On or before April 1 of 
  5.21  each year, all self-insured employers shall report paid 
  5.22  indemnity losses and insurers shall report paid indemnity losses 
  5.23  and standard workers' compensation premium in the form and 
  5.24  manner prescribed by the commissioner.  On June 1 of each year, 
  5.25  the commissioner shall determine the total amount needed to pay 
  5.26  all estimated liabilities, including administrative expenses, of 
  5.27  the special compensation fund for the following fiscal year.  
  5.28  The commissioner shall assess this amount against self-insured 
  5.29  employers and insurers.  The total amount of the assessment must 
  5.30  be allocated between self-insured employers and insured 
  5.31  employers based on paid indemnity losses for the preceding 
  5.32  calendar year.  The method of assessing self-insured employers 
  5.33  must be based on paid indemnity losses.  The method of assessing 
  5.34  insured employers is based on premium, collectible through a 
  5.35  policyholder surcharge.  On or before June 30 of each year, the 
  5.36  commissioner shall provide notification to each self-insured 
  6.1   employer and insurer of amounts due.  At least one-half of the 
  6.2   payment shall be made to the commissioner for deposit into the 
  6.3   special compensation fund on or before August 1 of the same 
  6.4   calendar year.  The remaining balance is due on February 1 of 
  6.5   the following calendar year. 
  6.6      (b) The portion of the total amount that is collected from 
  6.7   self-insured employers is equal to that proportion of the paid 
  6.8   indemnity losses for the preceding calendar year, which the paid 
  6.9   indemnity losses of all self-insured employers bore to the total 
  6.10  paid indemnity losses made by all self-insured employers and 
  6.11  insured employers during the preceding calendar year.  The 
  6.12  portion of the total amount that is collected from insured 
  6.13  employers is equal to that proportion of the total paid 
  6.14  indemnity losses on behalf of all insured employers bore to the 
  6.15  total paid indemnity losses on behalf of all self-insured 
  6.16  employers and insured employers during the preceding calendar 
  6.17  year.  The portion of the total assessment allocated to insured 
  6.18  employers that is collected from each insured employer must be 
  6.19  based on standard workers' compensation premium written in the 
  6.20  state during the preceding calendar year.  An employer who has 
  6.21  ceased to be self-insured shall continue to be liable for 
  6.22  assessments based on paid indemnity losses made by the employer 
  6.23  in the preceding calendar year. 
  6.24     (c) Insurers shall collect the assessments from their 
  6.25  insured employers through a surcharge based on premium, as 
  6.26  provided in paragraph (a).  Assessments when collected do not 
  6.27  constitute an element of loss for the purpose of establishing 
  6.28  rates for workers' compensation insurance, but for the purpose 
  6.29  of collection are treated as separate costs imposed on insured 
  6.30  employers.  The premium surcharge is included in the definition 
  6.31  of gross premium as defined in section 297I.01.  An insurer may 
  6.32  cancel a policy for nonpayment of the premium surcharge.  The 
  6.33  premium surcharge is excluded from the definition of premium 
  6.34  except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. 
  6.35     Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, 
  6.36  subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
  7.1      Subd. 7.  [REFUNDS.] In case deposit is or has been made 
  7.2   under subdivision 2 and dependency later is shown, or if deposit 
  7.3   is or has been made pursuant to subdivision 2 or 3 2a by mistake 
  7.4   or inadvertence, or under circumstances that justice requires a 
  7.5   refund, the state treasurer is authorized to refund the deposit 
  7.6   under order of the commissioner, a compensation judge, the 
  7.7   workers' compensation court of appeals, or a district 
  7.8   court.  Claims for refunds must be submitted to the commissioner 
  7.9   within three years of the assessment due date.  There is 
  7.10  appropriated to the commissioner from the fund an amount 
  7.11  sufficient to make the refund and payment.  
  7.12     Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, 
  7.13  subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
  7.14     Subd. 9.  [POWERS OF FUND.] In addition to powers granted 
  7.15  to the special compensation fund by this chapter the fund may do 
  7.16  the following:  
  7.17     (a) sue and be sued in its own name; 
  7.18     (b) intervene in or commence an action under this chapter 
  7.19  or any other law, including, but not limited to, intervention or 
  7.20  action as a subrogee to the division's right in a third-party 
  7.21  action, any proceeding under this chapter in which liability of 
  7.22  the special compensation fund is an issue, or any proceeding 
  7.23  which may result in other liability of the fund or to protect 
  7.24  the legal right of the fund; 
  7.25     (c) enter into settlements including but not limited to 
  7.26  structured, annuity purchase agreements with appropriate parties 
  7.27  under this chapter.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this 
  7.28  chapter, any settlement may provide that the fund partially or 
  7.29  totally denies liability for payment of benefits, and no 
  7.30  determination of employer insurance status and liability under 
  7.31  section 176.183, subdivision 2, shall be required for approval 
  7.32  of the stipulation for a settlement; 
  7.33     (d) contract with another party to administer the special 
  7.34  compensation fund; 
  7.35     (e) take any other action which an insurer is permitted by 
  7.36  law to take in operating within this chapter; and 
  8.1      (f) conduct a financial audit of indemnity claim payments, 
  8.2   premium, and assessments reported to the fund.  This may be 
  8.3   contracted by the fund to a private auditing firm. 
  8.4      Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 2001 Supplement, section 
  8.5   176.129, subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
  8.6      Subd. 10.  [PENALTY.] Sums paid to the commissioner 
  8.7   pursuant to this section shall be in the manner prescribed by 
  8.8   the commissioner.  The commissioner may impose a penalty payable 
  8.9   to the commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk safety 
  8.10  account of up to 15 percent of the amount due under this section 
  8.11  but not less than $1,000 in the event payment is not made or 
  8.12  reports are not submitted in the manner prescribed.  
  8.13     Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 2001 Supplement, section 
  8.14  176.129, subdivision 13, is amended to read: 
  8.15     Subd. 13.  [EMPLOYER REPORTS.] All employers and insurers 
  8.16  shall make reports to the commissioner as required for the 
  8.17  proper administration of this section and Minnesota Statutes 
  8.18  1990, section 176.131, and Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 
  8.19  176.132.  Employers and insurers may not be reimbursed from the 
  8.20  special compensation fund for any periods unless the employer or 
  8.21  insurer is up to date with all past due and currently due 
  8.22  assessments, penalties, and reports to the special compensation 
  8.23  fund under subdivision 3 this section. 
  8.24     Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.130, 
  8.25  subdivision 8, is amended to read: 
  8.26     Subd. 8.  [PENALTIES; WOOD MILLS.] If the assessment 
  8.27  provided for in this chapter is not paid on or before February 
  8.28  15 of the year when due and payable, the commissioner may impose 
  8.29  penalties as provided in section 176.129, subdivision 10, 
  8.30  payable to the commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk 
  8.31  safety account.  
  8.32     Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.130, 
  8.33  subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
  8.34     Subd. 9.  [FALSE REPORTS.] Any person or entity that, for 
  8.35  the purpose of evading payment of the assessment or avoiding the 
  8.36  reimbursement, or any part of it, makes a false report under 
  9.1   this section shall pay to the commissioner for deposit in the 
  9.2   assigned risk safety account, in addition to the assessment, a 
  9.3   penalty of 75 percent of the amount of the assessment.  A person 
  9.4   who knowingly makes or signs a false report, or who knowingly 
  9.5   submits other false information, is guilty of a misdemeanor.  
  9.6      Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.139, 
  9.7   subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
  9.8      Subd. 2.  [FAILURE TO POST; PENALTY.] The commissioner may 
  9.9   assess a penalty of $500 against the employer payable to the 
  9.10  commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk safety account if, 
  9.11  after notice from the commissioner, the employer violates the 
  9.12  posting requirement of this section.  
  9.13     Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.155, 
  9.14  subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
  9.15     Subd. 2.  [NEUTRAL PHYSICIAN.] In each case of dispute as 
  9.16  to the injury the commissioner of labor and industry, or in case 
  9.17  of a hearing the compensation judge conducting the hearing, or 
  9.18  the workers' compensation court of appeals if the matter is 
  9.19  before it, may with or without the request of any interested 
  9.20  party, designate a neutral physician from the list of neutral 
  9.21  physicians developed by the commissioner of labor and industry 
  9.22  to make an examination of the injured worker and report the 
  9.23  findings to the commissioner of labor and industry, compensation 
  9.24  judge, or the workers' compensation court of appeals, as the 
  9.25  case may be; provided that the request of the interested party 
  9.26  must comply with the rules of the commissioner of labor and 
  9.27  industry and the workers' compensation court of appeals 
  9.28  regulating the proper time and forms for the request, and 
  9.29  further provided that when an interested party requests, not 
  9.30  later than 30 days prior to a scheduled prehearing conference, 
  9.31  that a neutral physician be designated, the compensation judge 
  9.32  shall make such a designation.  When a party has requested the 
  9.33  designation of a neutral physician prior to a prehearing 
  9.34  conference, that party may withdraw the request at any time 
  9.35  prior to the hearing.  The commissioner of labor and industry, 
  9.36  compensation judge, or the workers' compensation court of 
 10.1   appeals, as the case may be, may request the neutral physician 
 10.2   to answer any particular question with reference to the medical 
 10.3   phases of the case, including questions calling for an opinion 
 10.4   as to the cause and occurrence of the injury insofar as medical 
 10.5   knowledge is relevant in the answer.  A copy of the signed 
 10.6   certificate of the neutral physician shall be mailed to the 
 10.7   parties in interest and either party, within five days from date 
 10.8   of mailing, may demand that the physician be produced for 
 10.9   purposes of cross-examination.  The signed certificate of a 
 10.10  neutral physician is competent evidence of the facts stated 
 10.11  therein.  The expense of the examination shall be paid as 
 10.12  ordered by the commissioner of labor and industry, compensation 
 10.13  judge, or the workers' compensation court of appeals. 
 10.14     The commissioner of labor and industry shall develop and 
 10.15  maintain a list of neutral physicians available for designation 
 10.16  pursuant to this subdivision or section 176.391, subdivision 2.  
 10.17     Sec. 16.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.181, 
 10.18  subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
 10.19     Subd. 3.  [FAILURE TO INSURE, PENALTY.] (a) The 
 10.20  commissioner, having reason to believe that an employer is in 
 10.21  violation of subdivision 2, may issue an order directing the 
 10.22  employer to comply with subdivision 2, to refrain from employing 
 10.23  any person at any time without complying with subdivision 2, and 
 10.24  to pay a penalty of up to $1,000 per employee per week during 
 10.25  which the employer was not in compliance. 
 10.26     (b) An employer shall have ten working days to contest such 
 10.27  an order by filing a written objection with the commissioner, 
 10.28  stating in detail its reasons for objecting.  If the 
 10.29  commissioner does not receive an objection within ten working 
 10.30  days, the commissioner's order shall constitute a final order 
 10.31  not subject to further review, and violation of that order shall 
 10.32  be enforceable by way of civil contempt proceedings in district 
 10.33  court.  If the commissioner does receive a timely objection, the 
 10.34  commissioner shall refer the matter to the office of 
 10.35  administrative hearings for an expedited hearing before a 
 10.36  compensation judge.  The compensation judge shall issue a 
 11.1   decision either affirming, reversing, or modifying the 
 11.2   commissioner's order within ten days of the close of the 
 11.3   hearing.  If the compensation judge affirms the commissioner's 
 11.4   order, the compensation judge may order the employer to pay an 
 11.5   additional penalty if the employer continued to employ persons 
 11.6   without complying with subdivision 2 while the proceedings were 
 11.7   pending. 
 11.8      (c) All penalties assessed under this subdivision shall be 
 11.9   paid into the state treasury and credited to payable to the 
 11.10  commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk safety account.  
 11.11  Penalties assessed under this section shall constitute a lien 
 11.12  for government services pursuant to section 514.67, on all the 
 11.13  employer's property and shall be subject to the Revenue 
 11.14  Recapture Act in chapter 270A. 
 11.15     (d) For purposes of this subdivision, the term "employer" 
 11.16  includes any owners or officers of a corporation who direct and 
 11.17  control the activities of employees. 
 11.18     Sec. 17.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.182, is 
 11.19  amended to read: 
 11.21     Every state or local licensing agency shall withhold the 
 11.22  issuance or renewal of a license or permit to operate a business 
 11.23  in Minnesota until the applicant presents acceptable evidence of 
 11.24  compliance with the workers' compensation insurance coverage 
 11.25  requirement of section 176.181, subdivision 2, by providing the 
 11.26  name of the insurance company, the policy number, and dates of 
 11.27  coverage or the permit to self-insure.  The commissioner shall 
 11.28  assess a penalty to the employer of $2,000 payable to the 
 11.29  commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk safety account, if 
 11.30  the information is not reported or is falsely reported.  
 11.31     Neither the state nor any governmental subdivision of the 
 11.32  state shall enter into any contract for the doing of any public 
 11.33  work before receiving from all other contracting parties 
 11.34  acceptable evidence of compliance with the workers' compensation 
 11.35  insurance coverage requirement of section 176.181, subdivision 2.
 11.36     This section shall not be construed to create any liability 
 12.1   on the part of the state or any governmental subdivision to pay 
 12.2   workers' compensation benefits or to indemnify the special 
 12.3   compensation fund, an employer, or insurer who pays workers' 
 12.4   compensation benefits.  
 12.5      Sec. 18.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.185, 
 12.6   subdivision 5a, is amended to read: 
 12.7      Subd. 5a.  [PENALTY FOR IMPROPER WITHHOLDING.] An employer 
 12.8   who violates subdivision 5 after notice from the commissioner is 
 12.9   subject to a penalty of 400 percent of the amount withheld from 
 12.10  or charged the employee.  The penalty shall be imposed by the 
 12.11  commissioner.  Forty percent of this penalty is payable to the 
 12.12  commissioner for deposit in the assigned risk safety account and 
 12.13  60 percent is payable to the employee. 
 12.14     Sec. 19.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.194, 
 12.15  subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
 12.16     Subd. 3.  [PROHIBITED CONDUCT.] The following conduct is 
 12.17  prohibited: 
 12.18     (1) failing to reply, within 30 calendar days after 
 12.19  receipt, to all written communication about a claim from a 
 12.20  claimant that requests a response; 
 12.21     (2) failing, within 45 calendar days after receipt of a 
 12.22  written request, to commence benefits or to advise the claimant 
 12.23  of the acceptance or denial of the claim by the insurer; 
 12.24     (3) failing to pay or deny medical bills within 45 days 
 12.25  after the receipt of all information requested from medical 
 12.26  providers; 
 12.27     (4) filing a denial of liability for workers' compensation 
 12.28  benefits without conducting an investigation; 
 12.29     (5) failing to regularly pay weekly benefits in a timely 
 12.30  manner as prescribed by rules adopted by the commissioner once 
 12.31  weekly benefits have begun.  Failure to regularly pay weekly 
 12.32  benefits means failure to pay an employee on more than three 
 12.33  occasions in any 12-month period within three business days of 
 12.34  when payment was due; 
 12.35     (6) failing to respond to the department within 30 calendar 
 12.36  days after receipt of a written inquiry from the department 
 13.1   about a claim; 
 13.2      (7) failing to pay pursuant to an order of the department, 
 13.3   compensation judge, court of appeals, or the supreme court, 
 13.4   within 45 days from the filing of the order unless the order is 
 13.5   under appeal; or 
 13.6      (8) advising a claimant not to obtain the services of an 
 13.7   attorney or representing that payment will be delayed if an 
 13.8   attorney is retained by the claimant.; or 
 13.9      (9) altering information on a document to be filed with the 
 13.10  department without the notice and consent of any person who 
 13.11  previously signed the document and who would be adversely 
 13.12  affected by the alteration. 
 13.13     Sec. 20.  Minnesota Statutes 2001 Supplement, section 
 13.14  176.194, subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
 13.15     Subd. 4.  [PENALTIES.] The penalties for violations of 
 13.16  subdivision 3, clauses (1) through (6) and (9), are as follows: 
 13.17      1st through 5th violation
 13.18      of each paragraph                   written warning 
 13.19      6th through 10th violation          $3,000 per 
 13.20      of each paragraph                   violation 
 13.21                                          in excess of five 
 13.22      11 or more violations               $6,000 per violation 
 13.23      of each paragraph                   in excess of ten 
 13.24  For violations of subdivision 3, clauses (7) and (8), the 
 13.25  penalties are: 
 13.26      1st through 5th violation
 13.27      of each paragraph                   $3,000 per violation
 13.28      6 or more violations                $6,000 per violation 
 13.29      of each paragraph                   in excess of five 
 13.30     The penalties under this section may be imposed in addition 
 13.31  to other penalties under this chapter that might apply for the 
 13.32  same violation.  The penalties under this section are assessed 
 13.33  by the commissioner and are payable to the commissioner for 
 13.34  deposit in the assigned risk safety account.  A party may object 
 13.35  to the penalty and request a formal hearing under section 
 13.36  176.85.  If an entity has more than 30 violations within any 
 14.1   12-month period, in addition to the monetary penalties provided, 
 14.2   the commissioner may refer the matter to the commissioner of 
 14.3   commerce with recommendation for suspension or revocation of the 
 14.4   entity's (a) license to write workers' compensation insurance; 
 14.5   (b) license to administer claims on behalf of a self-insured, 
 14.6   the assigned risk plan, or the Minnesota insurance guaranty 
 14.7   association; (c) authority to self-insure; or (d) license to 
 14.8   adjust claims.  The commissioner of commerce shall follow the 
 14.9   procedures specified in section 176.195. 
 14.10     Sec. 21.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.361, is 
 14.11  amended to read: 
 14.12     176.361 [INTERVENTION.] 
 14.13     Subdivision 1.  [RIGHT TO INTERVENE.] A person who has an 
 14.14  interest in any matter before the workers' compensation court of 
 14.15  appeals, or commissioner, or compensation judge such that the 
 14.16  person may either gain or lose by an order or decision may 
 14.17  intervene in the proceeding by filing an application or motion 
 14.18  in writing stating the facts which show the interest.  The 
 14.19  commissioner is considered to have an interest and shall be 
 14.20  permitted to intervene at the appellate level when a party 
 14.21  relies in its claim or defense upon any statute or rule 
 14.22  administered by the commissioner, or upon any rule, order, 
 14.23  requirement, or agreement issued or made under the statute or 
 14.24  rule.  
 14.25     The commissioner may adopt rules, not inconsistent with 
 14.26  this section to govern intervention.  The workers' compensation 
 14.27  court of appeals shall adopt rules to govern the procedure for 
 14.28  intervention in matters before it.  
 14.29     If the department of human services or the department of 
 14.30  economic security seeks to intervene in any matter before the 
 14.31  division, a compensation judge or the workers' compensation 
 14.32  court of appeals, a nonattorney employee of the department, 
 14.33  acting at the direction of the staff of the attorney general, 
 14.34  may prepare, sign, serve and file motions for intervention and 
 14.35  related documents, appear at prehearing conferences, and 
 14.36  participate in matters before a compensation judge or the 
 15.1   workers' compensation court of appeals.  Any other interested 
 15.2   party may intervene using a nonattorney and may participate in 
 15.3   any proceeding to the same extent an attorney could.  This 
 15.4   activity shall not be considered to be the unauthorized practice 
 15.5   of law.  An intervenor represented by a nonattorney shall be 
 15.6   deemed to be represented by an attorney for the purposes of the 
 15.7   conclusive presumption of section 176.521, subdivision 2. 
 15.8      Subdivisions 3 to 6 do not apply to matters pending in the 
 15.9   mediation or rehabilitation and medical services sections. 
 15.10     Subd. 2.  [WRITTEN APPLICATION OR MOTION.] A person 
 15.11  desiring to intervene in a workers' compensation case as a 
 15.12  party, including but not limited to a health care provider who 
 15.13  has rendered services to an employee or an insurer who has paid 
 15.14  benefits under section 176.191, shall submit a timely written 
 15.15  application or motion to intervene to the commissioner, the 
 15.16  office, or to the court of appeals, whichever is applicable.  
 15.17     (a) The application or motion must be served on all parties 
 15.18  either personally, by first class mail, or registered mail, 
 15.19  return receipt requested.  An application or motion to intervene 
 15.20  must be served and filed within 30 60 days after a person 
 15.21  potential intervenor has received been served with notice that a 
 15.22  claim has been filed or a request for mediation made.  An 
 15.23  untimely application is subject to denial under subdivision 7 of 
 15.24  a right to intervene or within 30 days of notice of an 
 15.25  administrative conference.  Upon the filing of a timely 
 15.26  application or motion to intervene, the potential intervenor 
 15.27  shall be granted intervenor status without the need for an 
 15.28  order.  Objections to the intervention may be subsequently 
 15.29  addressed by a compensation judge.  Where a motion to intervene 
 15.30  is not timely filed under this section, the potential intervenor 
 15.31  interest shall be extinguished and the potential intervenor may 
 15.32  not collect, or attempt to collect, the extinguished interest 
 15.33  from the employee, employer, insurer, or any government program. 
 15.34     (b) In any other situation, timeliness will be determined 
 15.35  by the commissioner, compensation judge, or awarding authority 
 15.36  in each case based on circumstances at the time of filing.  The 
 16.1   application or motion must show how the applicant's legal 
 16.2   rights, duties, or privileges may be determined or affected by 
 16.3   the case; state the grounds and purposes for which intervention 
 16.4   is sought; and indicate the statutory right to intervene.  The 
 16.5   application or motion must be accompanied by the following, if 
 16.6   applicable, except that if the action is pending in the 
 16.7   mediation or rehabilitation and medical services section, clause 
 16.8   (6) is not required and the information listed in clauses (1) to 
 16.9   (5) may be brought to the conference rather than attached to the 
 16.10  application:  
 16.11     (1) an itemization of disability payments showing the 
 16.12  period during which the payments were or are being made; the 
 16.13  weekly or monthly rate of the payments; and the amount of 
 16.14  reimbursement claimed; 
 16.15     (2) a summary of the medical or treatment payments, or 
 16.16  rehabilitation services provided by the vocational 
 16.17  rehabilitation unit, broken down by creditor, showing the total 
 16.18  bill submitted, the period of treatment or rehabilitation 
 16.19  covered by that bill, the amount of payment on that bill, and to 
 16.20  whom the payment was made; 
 16.21     (3) copies of all medical or treatment bills on which some 
 16.22  payment was made; 
 16.23     (4) copies of the work sheets or other information stating 
 16.24  how the payments on medical or treatment bills were calculated; 
 16.25     (5) a copy of the relevant policy or contract provisions 
 16.26  upon which the claim for reimbursement is based; 
 16.27     (6) a proposed order allowing intervention with sufficient 
 16.28  copies to serve on all parties; 
 16.29     (7) the name and telephone number of the person 
 16.30  representing the intervenor who has authority to reach a 
 16.31  settlement of the issues in dispute; 
 16.32     (8) (7) proof of service or copy of the registered mail 
 16.33  receipt; 
 16.34     (9) (8) at the option of the intervenor, a proposed 
 16.35  stipulation which states that all of the payments for which 
 16.36  reimbursement is claimed are related to the injury or condition 
 17.1   in dispute in the case and that, if the petitioner is successful 
 17.2   in proving the compensability of the claim, it is agreed that 
 17.3   the sum be reimbursed to the intervenor; and 
 17.4      (10) (9) if represented by an attorney, the name, address, 
 17.5   telephone number, and Minnesota Supreme Court license number of 
 17.6   the attorney. 
 17.7      Subd. 3.  [STIPULATION.] If the person submitting the 
 17.8   application or motion for intervention has included a proposed 
 17.9   stipulation, all parties shall either execute and return the 
 17.10  signed stipulation to the intervenor who must file it with the 
 17.11  division or judge or serve upon the intervenor and all other 
 17.12  parties and file with the division specific and detailed 
 17.13  objections to any payments made by the intervenor which are not 
 17.14  conceded to be correct and related to the injury or condition 
 17.15  the petitioner has asserted is compensable.  If a party has not 
 17.16  returned the signed stipulation or filed objections within 30 
 17.17  days of service of the application or motion, the intervenor's 
 17.18  right to reimbursement for the amount sought is deemed 
 17.19  established provided that the petitioner's claim is determined 
 17.20  to be compensable.  
 17.21     Subd. 4.  [ATTENDANCE BY INTERVENOR.] Unless a stipulation 
 17.22  has been signed and filed or the intervenor's right to 
 17.23  reimbursement has otherwise been established, the intervenor 
 17.24  shall attend all settlement or pretrial conferences, 
 17.25  administrative conferences, and shall attend the regular hearing 
 17.26  if ordered to do so by the compensation judge.  Failure to 
 17.27  appear shall result in the denial of the claim for reimbursement.
 17.28     Subd. 5.  [ORDER.] If an objection to intervention remains 
 17.29  following settlement or pretrial conferences, the commissioner 
 17.30  or compensation judge shall rule on the intervention and the 
 17.31  order is binding on the compensation judge to whom the case is 
 17.32  assigned for issue shall be addressed at the hearing.  
 17.34  a stipulation has been signed and filed or the intervenor's 
 17.35  right to reimbursement has otherwise been established, the 
 17.36  intervenor shall present evidence in support of the claim at the 
 18.1   hearing unless otherwise ordered by the compensation judge.  
 18.2      Subd. 7.  [EFFECTS OF NONCOMPLIANCE.] Except as provided in 
 18.3   subdivisions 2 and 4, failure to comply with this section shall 
 18.4   not result in a denial of the claim for reimbursement unless the 
 18.5   compensation judge, or commissioner, determines that the 
 18.6   noncompliance has materially prejudiced the interests of the 
 18.7   other parties.  
 18.8      Sec. 22.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.84, 
 18.9   subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
 18.10     Subd. 2.  [PENALTY.] The commissioner or compensation judge 
 18.11  may impose a penalty of $500 for each violation of subdivision 
 18.12  1.  This penalty is payable to the commissioner for deposit in 
 18.13  the assigned risk safety account. 
 18.14     Sec. 23.  [REPEALER.] 
 18.15     Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 176.129, subdivisions 3, 
 18.16  4, and 4a, are repealed. 
 18.17     Sec. 24.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
 18.18     Sections 6 to 11 and 23 are effective with assessments due 
 18.19  after July 1, 2003.