NORTH CAROLINA INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION

Help Line: (800) 688-8349, (919) 807-2501, or infospec@ic.nc.gov
Fraud and Insurance Compliance Hotline: (888) 891-4895 or fraudcomplaints@ic.nc.gov

For Insurance Carriers

Information for Carriers

ADMINISTRATIVE MOTIONS AND RESPONSES

Administrative motions practice filings that require attorney representation if filed on behalf of another person or entity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Form 24 Application
  • Response defending against Form 23 Application
  • Response defending against Form 28U
  • Response defending against Form 18M
  • Medical motions, including motions to compel compliance with medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation
  • Responses defending against medical motions
  • Any other motion or response seeking relief or asserting a defense

The unauthorized practice of law is illegal in North Carolina. See Chapter 84 of the N.C. General Statutes at this link for more information. The Industrial Commission has no authority to allow the unauthorized practice of law. If you have questions about what constitutes the practice of law, information can be found at https://www.ncbar.gov/, including at this link. If you have procedural questions about administrative motions practice, you may contact Executive Secretary Meredith Henderson at meredith.henderson@ic.nc.gov.

Permanent Rule Amendment to Medical Fee Schedule, Effective June 1, 2018

On October 19, 2017, the Rules Review Commission approved the rule amendment to Rule 04 NCAC 10J .0103 (recently recodified as 11 NCAC 23J .0103). Please click here to view an annotated version of the approved rule showing all amendments. However, the rule received ten or more letters of objection. Therefore, this rule was subjected to legislative review with a delayed effective date of the earliest of the 31st legislative day of the General Assembly's session or the date of adjournment.

Upon receiving additional clarification regarding the count of legislative days from the Senate Principal Clerk’s Office and the House Principal Clerk’s Office, it was determined the legislature reached its 31st day of this regular session on June 1, 2018. This clarification affected the rules of several agencies, including Rule 11 NCAC 23J .0103.

For dates of service between April 1, 2015 to May 31, 2018, the effective rule can be found here. For dates of service on or after June 1, 2018, the effective rule can be found here.
 

Important News Regarding Ambulatory Surgery Center Fee Schedule Rule

On November 21, 2017, by a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals issued an Opinion reversing the August 9, 2016 Decision of Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway and remanding the case for entry of an order affirming the Industrial Commission’s December 14, 2015 Declaratory Ruling. The Court of Appeals held that the ambulatory surgery center provisions of the workers’ compensation medical fee schedule that became effective April 1, 2015 were promulgated in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act and are valid retroactively and prospectively. Please click here to read that decision.

On April 6, 2018, the North Carolina Supreme Court denied Surgical Care Affiliates’ request for a Petition for Discretionary Review. This leaves in place the November 2017 Court of Appeals decision in favor of the Industrial Commission. Rule 11 NCAC 23J .0103, effective April 1, 2015, continues to be the effective fee schedule for ambulatory surgery centers.

Rule 302 Submissions

All insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and self-insured employers shall designate a primary contact person for workers’ compensation issues in North Carolina and shall maintain and provide annually to the Director of Claims Administration of the Industrial Commission the primary contact person’s current contact information, including direct telephone and facsimile numbers, mailing addresses, and e-mail addresses. Contact information shall be updated within 30 days of any change. The Industrial Commission shall implement guidelines to facilitate the collection of this information. The guidelines are available here.

Rule 302 submissions shall be sent via e-mail to rule302@ic.nc.gov.

Questions?

If you have questions related to Rule 302 submissions, please e-mail rule302@ic.nc.gov, and someone from Claims Administration will respond.

Temporary Rule Amending 11 NCAC 23J .0103, Effective January 1, 2017

The temporary rule amendment to Rule 11 NCAC 23J .0103 adopted by the Industrial Commission was reviewed and approved by the Rules Review Commission on December 15, 2016. The temporary rule went into effect on January 1, 2017. Please click here to view the temporary rule as published in the North Carolina Register on January 17, 2017. This temporary rule can also be found in the North Carolina Administrative Code online here.

Important News Regarding Ambulatory Surgery Fee Schedule
Rules and Public Comment Meeting on October 3, 2016

On August 9, 2016, Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway entered a Decision invalidating the ambulatory surgery center provisions of the workers’ compensation medical fee schedule that became effective April 1, 2015. Please click here to read that decision. The decision has been stayed pursuant to a September 2, 2016 Order by Judge Ridgeway. Click here to view the Order.

The Industrial Commission scheduled a non-mandatory public comment meeting on October 3, 2016, to consider appropriate steps for the Industrial Commission to take in light of the August 9, 2016 Decision. Please click here to view the meeting notice. Please click here for the cost analyses published by NCCI and NCRB that are referenced in the meeting notice. The cost analyses may be used by the public in formulating any comments or proposals prior to or following the public comment meeting.

The Commission held the public comment meeting on Monday, October 3, 2016. Please click here to view a transcript of the public comment meeting. Per the above-mentioned notice, the Commission will continue to accept comments through Monday, October 10, 2016.

The Industrial Commission received the following proposals on September 26, 2016. As stated in the meeting notice, members of the public may attend the meeting on October 3, 2016, to address oral comments on these proposals to the Commission. Additionally, any person may present written comments in response to the proposals by October 10, 2016, as described in the meeting notice referenced above. In accordance with the meeting notice, the Commission is posting all proposals received. The proposals are listed in chronological order of receipt.

  • Proposal from Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC. Please click here.
  • Proposal from 21 employer, insurance, and third-party administrator organizations. Please click here.
  • Proposal from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Please click here.
  • Proposal from the North Carolina Hospital Association. Please click here.

Following the public comment meeting on October 3, 2016, the Commission accepted additional written comments and corresponding documentation through October 10, 2016. These comments are listed below in order of receipt. The Commission appreciates the participation of all persons and entities throughout this process. All proposals, written comments, and oral presentations shall be taken under advisement in considering the rulemaking options to address the effects of the August 9, 2016 court decision.

  • Comment from Triangle Orthopaedics Surgery Center. Please click here.
  • Comment from the North Carolina Hospital Association. Please click here.
  • Comment from Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC. Please click here.
  • Letters submitted with SCA’s comment. Please click here.

ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes Required as of October 1, 2015

Beginning October 1, 2015, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-26(g1) and in alignment with federal regulations, the applicable administrative standard for diagnosis code sets for medical billing and reporting in North Carolina workers’ compensation cases will transition to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification and Procedure Coding System (ICD-10), from the 9th Edition (ICD-9).

Although there have been previous delays in the implementation of the ICD-10 code sets, the Industrial Commission will continue to follow the timeframe set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

All medical services provided on or after October 1, 2015, must be billed with ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes. Medical services provided before October 1, 2015 must continue to be billed with ICD-9 diagnosis and procedure codes. Health care providers should follow CMS’s guidelines for billing claims that overlap the ICD-10 implementation date.

For more information about the transition, please visit the CMS website at http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/Index.html.

Medical Fee Schedule Changes, Effective July 1, 2015

Please click here for a notice regarding the changes to the Workers’ Compensation Medical Fee Schedule that are effective July 1, 2015. The notice links to Frequently Asked Questions that provide information and guidance regarding the changes to the Medical Fee Schedule.

Medical Fee Schedule Changes, Effective April 1, 2015

Please click here for a notice regarding changes to the Workers' Compensation Medical Fee Schedule, effective April 1, 2015. The notice links to Frequently Asked Questions that provide information and guidance regarding the changes to the Medical Fee Schedule.

Rule 1001 Medical Practice Guidelines and Peer Reviewer Profiles

The North Carolina Industrial Commission offers a secure FTP site (ftp://149.168.254.96/), so that insurance companies and other entities may upload Rule 1001 Medical Practice Guidelines, Rule 1001 Peer Reviewer Profiles, and related documents and correspondence for the Commission to view. Click here for complete instructions on how to use this FTP site.

Questions?

If you have questions related to Rule 1001 Medical Practice Guidelines or Rule 1001 Peer Reviewer Profiles that you have submitted or general questions about Rule 1001 submissions, please contact the Executive Secretary's office by e-mailing execsec@ic.nc.gov. Someone from our office will respond.

If you have problems uploading or questions about the FTP site itself, please e-mail the NCIC IT Section at NCICIT@ic.nc.gov; or you may call the IT Section at (919) 807-2590 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST/EDT Monday-Friday.

Announcement Regarding Medical Bill Reporting Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

In response to requests from employers, carriers, and third-party administrators, the Industrial Commission will delay the mandatory implementation date for Medical Bill Reporting via EDI from March 1, 2014, to July 1, 2014. This purpose of this postponement is to allow these stakeholders additional time for preparation and necessary programming. No additional extensions will be granted.

Announcement Regarding Electronic Medical Billing and Payment

Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-26(g1), the Industrial Commission was directed to adopt rules requiring electronic medical billing and payment processes. The Industrial Commission subsequently adopted Electronic Billing Rules 101-109 in 2012. These rules were then held in abeyance in conjunction with other rule making efforts and to allow the Commission to develop an implementation guide. The Electronic Billing and Payment Companion Guide is now in final form and ready for publication. Click here for access to the guide. This guide can also be accessed on the Commission’s webpages for Carriers and for Medical Providers.

The date for implementation of electronic medical billing in the adopted rules referenced above is March 1, 2014. The Commission received and considered feedback and multiple requests for extensions of the March 1, 2014 deadline from employers, carriers, third-party administrators, and medical billing companies. In order to allow these stakeholders additional time for preparation, the Commission will not require compliance with the Electronic Billing Rules until July 1, 2014, with regard to electronic medical billing processes. The rules and portions of the companion guide that govern and require electronic medical payment processes will not be mandatory until January 1, 2015. No additional extensions will be granted.

Update Regarding Medical Fee Schedule

On January 1, 2013, the Industrial Commission enacted Rule 11 NCAC 23J .0101 Fees for Medical Compensation. This new rule revised the payment structure for medical treatment under the Commission’s Medical Fee Schedule and Hospital Fee Schedule. These adjustments were made on staggered dates: (1) January 1, 2013; (2) February 1, 2013; and (3) April 1, 2013. The Industrial Commission has provided three notices regarding these changes and encourages all insurance carriers, self-insured groups and administrators, and managed care organizations to make timely and accurate payment for medical services in accordance with the rule and guidance provided in the following notices:

Frequently Asked Questions from Insurance Carriers

The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions from insurers about North Carolina Workers’ Compensation.

I am an adjuster for an insurer. Is there a form I should use to deny a workers’ compensation claim?

Yes. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-18(c) and (d), a Form 61 must be filed with the N.C. Industrial Commission and a copy sent to the employee or the employee’s attorney of record, if any, and also to all known medical service providers. The adjuster should provide a detailed statement describing the grounds for denying compensability or liability either on the Form 61 or on an attached letter.

I am an out-of-state medical provider. Am I required to accept medical rates as established by the N.C. Medical Fee Schedule when I treat patients for a N.C. claim?

No. You are allowed to bill charges in full or based on a prior agreement if one has been established. If one has not been established, expect reimbursement pursuant to your state’s fee schedule.

Do I need permission to suspend or terminate Temporary Total benefits under workers’ compensation?

Yes, unless there has been a return to work as explained in the paragraph below. A Form 24 must be filed with the N.C. Industrial Commission and sent to the employee or the employee’s attorney of record, if any, and payments may be stopped only after a decision by the Commission.

Defendants may terminate Temporary Total benefits [N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-29] when an employee has returned to work for the same or different employer subject to Trial-Return to Work provisions [N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-32.1] or when the employer contests a claim pursuant to Payment Without Prejudice [N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-18(d)] within ninety (90) days (unless an extension has been granted by the Industrial Commission).

Otherwise, defendants may obtain counsel to submit a Form 24 - Application to Terminate or Suspend Payments of Compensation pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-18.1, to the Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission shall approve or deny the Form 24. You should receive approval from the Industrial Commission prior to the termination of compensation benefits. If payments are suspended prematurely, and the Special Deputy Commissioner disallows the Form 24 request, the insurer must pay full retroactive benefits to the employee.

Are there any penalties if payment of compensation benefits are not paid within fourteen (14) days after it has become due when the injured worker is being paid ongoing compensation?

Yes. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-18(g), there shall be added to such unpaid installment an amount equal to ten per cent (10%), which shall be paid at the same time as, but in addition to, such installment, unless such nonpayment is excused by the Industrial Commission after a showing by the employer that owing to conditions over which he had no control such installment could not be paid within the period prescribed for payment. There is a Penalty Memo available from the Industrial Commission for more information.

Which forms should I submit to the Industrial Commission when a claimant has returned to work?

You should use the Form 28 - Return to Work Report, when the claimant has returned to work with no working restrictions, or the Form 28-T - Notice of Termination of Compensation by Reason of Trial-Return to Work Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §97-18.1(b) and §97-32.1, when the claimant has working restrictions.