LINDA XAYAMONGKHON v. ISD 625/CCMSI No. WC15-5852 (April 19, 2016)

The self-insured employer appeals the decision ordering payment of the intervenor’s bill for chiropractic services. The employer claims the bill should be denied based on the intervening provider’s failure to appear at the hearing.  The appeal raises the issue of an intervenor’s obligation to appear at a hearing when there has not been a stipulation as to the intervenor’s claim.

The employee sustained a work-related injury and she subsequently treated with a chiropractor, neurological clinic, and neck and back clinic.  The employee filed medical requests in 2014 and 2015, seeking payment of the bills from all three providers.  The providers were put on notice of their right to intervene and all three filed motions to intervene.  The employer filed objections to the motions to intervene.

The issues at hearing were whether the chiropractor’s treatment was reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the work injury and whether a departure from the treatment parameters was warranted.  No representative for the chiropractic clinic appeared at the hearing.  The employer argued at hearing that the bill should be denied based on the clinic’s failure to appear.  The compensation judge ordered payment of the bill at Moe Bodyworks.

The WCCA reversed, relying on Sumner v. Jim Lupient Infiniti, 865 N.W.2d 706 (Minn. 2015) because the Sumner decision held that “an intervenor must make a personal appearance at all conferences and hearings unless a stipulation has been signed or the intervenor’s right to reimbursement has otherwise been established.” (see also Minn. Stat. § 176.361, subd. 4).  Failure to make a personal appearance results in mandatory denial of the intervenor’s claim.