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Copy Services Fee Schedule? Yes Please!

October 9th, 2013

Alright, dear readers! Put away your IMR forms.  Drop those Valdez briefs.  Forget all about your treatment-only psyche claim.  It’s time that we look at the true heart of the SB-863 reforms: copy service fee schedules!

That’s right, good people of the Workers’ Compensation world, we’re going to rein in the copy services.

If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, it goes like this: when the defendants want to subpoena records, they’re going to look at the price tag for the services (because they’re the ones paying for it).  So if Jack’s Coy Copiers decide to provide a $900 bill for 25 pages of copies, they won’t be getting any more business from Insurance Co. X.

Applicant’s on the other hand, want the copy service to be as expensive as possible.  If you are an efficient, honest, and cheap copy service, the applicants’ bar doesn’t want anything to do with you, because you’re only getting half the job done… that half being subpoenaing and copying records.  The other half is inflicting pain on the defense – letting them know that this will be yet another cut in their litigation budget because they had the gall not to stipulate to 100% PD at the first sign of industrial paper cut.

So, while the defense-preferred copy services find themselves in an arms race to the bottom of the price bracket, the applicant-preferred copy services find themselves in a bidding war to the top.  Note, dear readers, that the basic ideas of free market economics are present in the regulated world of workers’ compensation as well.  If you look at the fee applicants attorneys are allowed to charge for their “services” during depositions, you can see how out of touch with reality that market is.

Well, SB-863 specifically provided for a reasonable fee schedule to be established for copy services (the administrative director and the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation were to do a joint project here).  Well, the CHSWC has come through, and now welcomes public comment on their proposed flat-fee schedule for a set of records up to 1,000 pages.

The report proposes that the first 1000 pages be charged at $103.55, with additional sets available electronically for $5.   Surprisingly, the report does not make a recommendation for electronic-only production.  For example, your humble blogger likes to keep a copy of all records on his computer, so if the subpoenaed records come in paper form, into the scanner they go.

Your humble blogger’s suggestions:

  1. Allow a smaller fee for digital-only production; and,
  2. Allow service of the subpoenaed records in the same format ordered by the subpoenaing party (so if I order it on CD, the other side should be satisfied with getting a CD).

Overall, though, this is a step in the right direction: here’s hoping this approach is adopted, and a bit of water is thrown on the Scorched Earth policies of some applicants’ attorneys.

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