The answer to this question is a qualified “Yes.” Independent bill review, or “IBR”, is a non-judicial process that allows carriers and providers—including interpreters—to resolve disputes about the amount of a bill or whether a bill is even payable under workers’ compensation. Under the law, IBR is effective for any treatment service that was provided on or after January 1, 2013. If you provided Interpreting services at medical treatment appointments, your Invoice is also classified as Treatment.
The relatively recent case of Meadowbrook Ins. v. WCAB provides important instruction on the potential pitfalls that an interpreter may face during the Invoice review process in workers’ compensation. In that case, the claims administrator for an insurance company disputed the liens that an interpreter service tried to file against the insurance company. The problem hinged on the fact that the Interpreter did not request a second review of their invoices, as is required under the workers’ compensation statutes. Many believe that the California Labor Code is vague when it sets out the requirements to get these sorts of invoices paid. The appellate court in the Meadowbrook case determined that when the only dispute is the amount of the payment made by the insurance carrier, a second review is required. The court found that the California Labor Code section§4603.2(e)(1) regarding treatment made independent bill review and these second review requests applicable to interpreter service providers. In other words, even though the law is vague, there are important steps to take to make sure that your treatment Invoices are properly collectable, and this may very well include going through independent bill review.
If your AME/QME Interpreting Invoice is reduced, you should seek Second Bill Review under Labor Code §4622(b)(2). If your bill is not fully paid after SBR, your remedy is a Petition for Non-IBR Reimbursement under WCAB Rule 10786.
If your Cost Services (Depo Prep/Depo/Depo Review/WCAB Hearing/Settlement Translation) is not properly paid, you are not required to seek a Second Bill Review. The remedy for proper payment is a Petition for 5811 Costs under WCAB Rule 10545.
We have extensive experience helping our clients with interpreter collection in workers’ compensation cases, and we can talk with you about your invoices and how to make sure they are properly collectable. Contact us today for a consultation.