Home - NJ Statutes - NJSA 39:6A-5.1
39:6A-5.1 Dispute resolution provided regarding recovery of personal injury protection benefits.
1. a. Any dispute regarding the recovery of medical expense benefits or other benefits provided under personal injury protection coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile may be submitted to dispute resolution on the initiative of any party to the dispute, as hereinafter provided.
b. The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance shall designate an organization, and for that purpose may, at his discretion, advertise for proposals, for the purpose of administering dispute resolution proceedings regarding medical expense benefits and other benefits provided under personal injury protection pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), medical expense benefits coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or emergency care medical expense benefits pursuant to section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3). The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations with respect to the conduct of the dispute resolution proceedings. The organization administering dispute resolution shall utilize qualified professionals who serve on a full-time basis and who meet standards of competency established by the commissioner. The commissioner shall establish standards of performance for the organization to ensure the independence and fairness of the review process, including, but not limited to, standards relative to the professional qualifications of the professionals presiding over the dispute resolution process, and standards to ensure that no conflict of interest exists which would prevent the professional from performing his duties in an impartial manner. The standards of performance shall include a requirement that the organization establish an advisory council composed of parties who are users of the dispute resolution mechanism established herein. The commissioner may contract with a consulting firm for the formulation of the standards of performance of the organization and establishment of qualifications for the persons who are to conduct the dispute resolution proceedings. The commissioner shall not advertise for bids for the consulting firm, as provided in sections 3 and 4 of P.L.1954, c.48 (C.52:34-8 and 52:34-9). Compensation to the dispute resolution professionals shall be established by the commissioner and adjusted from time to time as appropriate, with the approval of the commissioner. In no case shall compensation be paid on a contingency basis. The organization shall establish a dispute resolution plan, which shall include procedures and rules governing the dispute resolution process and provisions for monitoring the dispute resolution process to ensure adherence to the standards of performance established by the commissioner. The plan, and any amendments thereto, shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner.
c. Dispute resolution proceedings under this section 24 and section 25 of this amendatory and supplementary act shall include disputes arising regarding medical expense benefits provided under subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3), benefits provided pursuant to subsection b., c., d. or e. of section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), subsection b., c., d. or e. of section 7 of P.L.1972, c.198 (C.39:6-86.1), and disputes as to additional first party coverage benefits required to be offered pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-10). Disputes involving medical expense benefits may include, but not necessarily be limited to, matters concerning: (1) interpretation of the insurance contract; (2) whether the treatment or health care service which is the subject of the dispute resolution proceeding is in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) or the terms of the policy; (3) the eligibility of the treatment or service for compensation; (4) the eligibility of the provider performing the treatment or service to be compensated under the terms of the policy or under regulations promulgated by the commissioner, including whether the person is licensed or certified to perform such treatment; (5) whether the disputed medical treatment was actually performed; (6) whether diagnostic tests performed in connection with the treatment are those recognized by the commissioner; (7) the necessity or appropriateness of consultations by other health care providers; (8) disputes involving application of and adherence to fee schedules promulgated by the commissioner; and (9) whether the treatment performed is reasonable, necessary, and compatible with the protocols provided for pursuant to P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-1.1 et al.). The dispute resolution professionals may review the entire claims file of the insurer, subject to any confidentiality requirement established pursuant to State or federal law. All decisions of the dispute resolution professional shall be in writing, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, shall state the issues in dispute, the findings and conclusions on which the decision is based, and shall be signed by the dispute resolution professional. All decisions of a dispute resolution professional shall be binding. The dispute resolution organization shall provide for the retention of all documents used in dispute resolution proceedings under this section and section 25 of this amendatory and supplementary act, including the written decision, for a period of at least five years, in a form approved by the commissioner, or for such additional time as may be established by the commissioner. The written decisions of the dispute resolution professional shall be forwarded to the commissioner, who shall establish a record of the proceedings conducted under the dispute resolution procedure, which shall be accessible to the public and may be used as guidance in subsequent dispute resolution proceedings.
d. With respect to disputes as to the diagnosis, the medical necessity of the treatment or diagnostic test administered to the injured person, whether the injury is causally related to the insured event or is the product of a preexisting condition, or disputes as to the appropriateness of the protocols utilized by the provider, the dispute resolution professional shall, either at his option or at the request of any party to the dispute, refer the matter to a medical review organization for a determination. The determination of the medical review organization on the dispute referred shall be presumed to be correct by the dispute resolution professional, which presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. Should the dispute resolution professional find that the decision of the medical review organization is not correct, the reasons supporting that finding shall be set forth in the dispute resolution professional's written decision.
e. Any person submitting a matter to the dispute resolution process established herein may submit for review all or a portion of a disputed treatment or treatments or a dispute regarding a diagnostic test or tests or a dispute regarding the providing of services or durable medical goods. Any portion of a treatment or diagnostic test or service which is not under review shall be reimbursed in accordance with the provisions of section 5 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-5). If the dispute resolution proceeding results in a determination that all or part of a treatment or treatments, diagnostic test or tests or service performed, or durable medical goods provided are medically necessary and appropriate, reimbursement shall be made with interest payable in accordance with the provisions of section 5 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-5).
L.1998,c.21,s.24; amended 1998, c.22, s.4; 2003, c.89, s.49.