The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has announced that attorneys can call the Board to submit a request for a conference call with the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to a claim with regard to certain issues.
This option is available should a need for resolution arise on matters that haven’t been disputed and are able to be resolved within the scope of an evidentiary hearing. This could include –but isn’t limited to– all matters pertaining to problems obtaining authorization to treat with a panel or other authorized provider, problems obtaining medication prescribed by the authorized provider, authorization for diagnostic testing recommended by the authorized provider, unpaid medical bills, or accidental or improper suspension of benefits. This option is not for change of physician requests or any issues that could in any way require an evidentiary hearing.
If an ALJ is assigned to the claim, attorneys can call their offices directly to request and/or schedule the conference. To determine whether or not an ALJ has been assigned to a claim, check the file in ICMS. If there’s not an ALJ assigned, counsel can call 404.656.2939 and will be referred to the appropriate administrative law judge.
In either case, a conference call can then be scheduled and all applicable parties are notified by e-mail to initiate the call. If any of the parties fail to appear or provide a minimum of twenty-four hours advance notice as to a reason for lack of availability, then they could face civil penalties; everyone is encouraged to work alongside one another and the judge’s offices to schedule mutually convenient times. Further, if a call is requested, then the opposing party has to participate unless the ALJ specifically excuses them.