Saves Hospital $600,000 in Lost Reimbursement
Stressing that a rule or regulation adopted by an administrative agency can only be given binding legal effect if the agency complies with the full requirements of the state’s Rules and Regulations Filing Act [See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 77-415], the Court of Appeals of Kansas recently held that a three-word modification in language introduced into the 2011 version of the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Schedule of Medical Fees could not be enforced [see Via Christi Hosps. Wichita, Inc. v. Kan-Pak LLC, 2017 Kan. App. LEXIS 67 (Aug. 25, 2017)]. Utilizing the schedule, with the three-word modification from the 2010 version, a hearing officer awarded a hospital reimbursement in the amount of $136,451.60 for its services to a severely burned workers’ compensation claimant. Had the three words not been introduced into the 2011 schedule, the hospital would have entitled to an additional $600,000. The hearing officer and the state’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board ruled that the schedule had to be enforced as written. The Appellate Court detailed the proper procedure to be followed in making regulatory changes and noted that none of the required safeguards had been utilized in adding the suspect language. The Court concluded that since the appropriate procedure had not been followed, the 2011 schedule should be read as if the changes in wording had never occurred.