256.015 Public assistance lien on recipient's cause of action.
Subdivision 1. State agency has lien. When the state agency provides, pays for, or becomes liable for medical care or furnishes subsistence or other payments to a person, the agency shall have a lien for the cost of the care and payments on any and all causes of action or recovery rights under any policy, plan, or contract providing benefits for health care or injury which accrue to the person to whom the care or payments were furnished, or to the person's legal representatives, as a result of the occurrence that necessitated the medical care, subsistence, or other payments. For purposes of this section, "state agency" includes authorized agents of the state agency.
Subd. 2. Perfection; enforcement. (a) The state agency may perfect and enforce its lien under sections 514.69, 514.70, and 514.71, and must file the verified lien statement with the appropriate court administrator in the county of financial responsibility. The verified lien statement must contain the following: the name and address of the person to whom medical care, subsistence, or other payment was furnished; the date of injury; the name and address of vendors furnishing medical care; the dates of the service or payment; the amount claimed to be due for the care or payment; and to the best of the state agency's knowledge, the names and addresses of all persons, firms, or corporations claimed to be liable for damages arising from the injuries.
(b) This section does not affect the priority of any attorney's lien. The state agency is not subject to any limitations period referred to in section 514.69 or 514.71 and has one year from the date notice is first received by it under subdivision 4, paragraph (c), even if the notice is untimely, or one year from the date medical bills are first paid by the state agency, whichever is later, to file its verified lien statement. The state agency may commence an action to enforce the lien within one year of (1) the date the notice required by subdivision 4, paragraph (c), is received, or (2) the date the person's cause of action is concluded by judgment, award, settlement, or otherwise, whichever is later.
(c) If the notice required in subdivision 4 is not provided by any of the parties to the claim at any stage of the claim, the state agency will have one year from the date the state agency learns of the lack of notice to commence an action. If amounts on the claim or cause of action are paid and the amount required to be paid to the state agency under subdivision 5 is not paid to the state agency, the state agency may commence an action to recover on the lien against any or all of the parties or entities which have either paid or received the payments.
Subd. 3. Prosecutor. The attorney general, or the appropriate county attorney acting at the direction of the attorney general, shall represent the state agency to enforce the lien created under this section or, if no action has been brought, may initiate and prosecute an independent action on behalf of the state agency against a person, firm, or corporation that may be liable to the person to whom the care or payment was furnished.
Subd. 4. Notice. The state agency must be given notice of monetary claims against a person, firm, or corporation that may be liable in damages to the injured person when the state agency has paid for or become liable for the cost of medical care or payments related to the injury. Notice must be given as follows:
(a) Applicants for public assistance shall notify the state or county agency of any possible claims they may have against a person, firm, or corporation when they submit the application for assistance. Recipients of public assistance shall notify the state or county agency of any possible claims when those claims arise.
(b) A person providing medical care services to a recipient of public assistance shall notify the state agency when the person has reason to believe that a third party may be liable for payment of the cost of medical care.
(c) A party to a claim upon which the state agency may be entitled to a lien under this section shall notify the state agency of its potential lien claim at each of the following stages of a claim:
(1) when a claim is filed;
(2) when an action is commenced; and
(3) when a claim is concluded by payment, award, judgment, settlement, or otherwise.
Every party involved in any stage of a claim under this subdivision is required to provide notice to the state agency at that stage of the claim. However, when one of the parties to the claim provides notice at that stage, every other party to the claim is deemed to have provided the required notice at that stage of the claim. If the required notice under this paragraph is not provided to the state agency, every party will be deemed to have failed to provide the required notice. A party to a claim includes the injured person or the person's legal representative, the plaintiff, the defendants, or persons alleged to be responsible for compensating the injured person or plaintiff, and any other party to the cause of action or claim, regardless of whether the party knows the state agency has a potential or actual lien claim.
Notice given to the county agency is not sufficient to meet the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c).
Subd. 5. Costs deducted. Upon any judgment, award, or settlement of a cause of action, or any part of it, upon which the state agency has filed its lien, including compensation for liquidated, unliquidated, or other damages, reasonable costs of collection, including attorney fees, must be deducted first. The full amount of public assistance paid to or on behalf of the person as a result of the injury must be deducted next, and paid to the state agency. The rest must be paid to the public assistance recipient or other plaintiff. The plaintiff, however, must receive at least one-third of the net recovery after attorney fees and other collection costs.
Subd. 6. When effective. The lien created under this section is effective with respect to any public assistance paid on or after August 1, 1987.
Subd. 7. Cooperation required. Upon the request of the department of human services, any state agency or third party payer shall cooperate with the department in furnishing information to help establish a third party liability. Upon the request of the department of human services or county child support or human service agencies, any employer or third party payer shall cooperate in furnishing information about group health insurance plans or medical benefit plans available to its employees. The department of human services and county agencies shall limit its use of information gained from agencies, third party payers, and employers to purposes directly connected with the administration of its public assistance and child support programs. The provision of information by agencies, third party payers, and employers to the department under this subdivision is not a violation of any right of confidentiality or data privacy.