New Jersey amended its Workers’ Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et. seq., on November 19, 2012, to grant to the Workers’ Compensation Division “sole” discretion over fee disputes arising out of a Workers’ Compensation matter.
I have written about the increasing prevalence of so-called “medical Provider Claims” within the Division over the past several years, suffice it to say that this statutory amendment was made to specifically address the confusion and increasing spate of litigation surrounding medical provider claims in that state. However, the amendment was not intended to expand the jurisdiction of the Act to include claims arising from other state’s workers’ compensation laws or even medical fee disputes arising from other treatments not associated with a workers’ compensation claim but occasioned or accompanied by other New Jersey litigation (for example, PIP medical fee arbitration).
N.J.S.A. 34:15-15 states:
“Exclusive jurisdiction for any disputed medical charge arising from any claim for compensation for a work-related injury or illness shall be vested in the division.”
As evidenced by its situation inside of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation section of the New Jersey Labor Statute, this provision is meant to apply to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation claims alone. New Jersey Workers’ Compensation claims arise out of injuries, and/or extensive contract connections, in New Jersey.