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New Jersey lawmakers have proposed a bipartisan bill that prohibits medical providers from reporting certain workers compensation medical charges to collection and credit reporting agencies.
A.B. 1697, introduced Thursday in the New Jersey House by Republican Rep Ronald Dancer and Democratic Rep. Joann Downey, would forbit medical providers from reporting unpaid charges to a collection agency until New Jersey Division of Workers Compensation judge has fully adjudicated the liabilities of all parties or a notice of a stipulation settlement or order approving the settlement regarding payment of charges has been filed with the court.
The bill also states that noncompliance with the provisions could lead to a fine, not to exceed $5,000, payable to the Second Injury Find, reasonable counsel fees for any claimant who suffered damage to their credit due to the reporting of unpaid medical charges to a collection or credit agency and the potential of an award of damages to the workers compensation claimant not to exceed 25% of medical charges reported by the medical provider, with a minimum award set at $350.
A similar version of this bill was first introduced in the House in 2017 and again in 2018 but never made it out of committee.
S.B. 3036, sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, was passed by a vote of 37-1 in the New Jersey Senate in late March.
If signed into law, this legislation would take effect immediately.
The New Jersey General Assembly is slated to vote Thursday on legislation that would force sweeping changes in opioid prescribing among doctors in the state, three days after the state’s Senate unanimously passed a similar bill.