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Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:17 pm
by chirogeek
Hi again,

I've got a DA who simply insists that I come to his office for my 4th deposition on a claim where I am the AME. This time I have agreed to the 90 minutes of driving time after getting a verbal from the CA that she would pay my fee for travel time. However, I just got a letter that the IC will not pay ML105 fees for travel time and only wants to pay $12.43 for the round trip (which is over 90 miles round trip). I wanted the ML105 fees that speaks of travel time as well as prep time.

Am I not entitled for ML105 travel time fees at $250 per hour? If not, he can then come to my office, as usual.

Thanks in advance.

ML105: "Fees for medical-legal testimony. The physician shall be reimbursed at the rate of RV 5, or his or her usual and customary fee, whichever is less, for each quarter hour or portion thereof, rounded to the nearest quarter hour, spent by the physician. The physician shall be entitled to fees for all itemized reasonable and necessary time spent related to the testimony, including reasonable preparation and travel time. The physician shall be paid a minimum of one hour for a scheduled deposition."

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:28 pm
by appliedpsych
ML 105 seems very clear. Bill for all travel time, but document it well and detail on the bill, so they can't say your're trying to pad the bill. The IC may say they won't pay the bill, but ML 105 says they must, and that should prevail.

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:14 am
by jonbrissman
You can demand advance payment as a condition for your testimony. Get a MapQuest printout showing the estimated travel time, round it up to the nearest quarter hour, add your minimum deposition and file-review time, then send defendant a bill for that total time with a deadline for receipt of payment. If payment does not arrive by that date, file a motion to quash along with a request for an order that the deposition be scheduled for your office.

Doctors should never have to file liens for deposition fees. Deponents may refuse to proceed with testimony until and unless payment is made. If the deposition runs longer than the time purchased in advance, demand additional payment to be made forthwith or suspend the deposition until additional payment is made. I suggest that you make prior disclosure of your payment-in-advance-or-no-testimony policy.

A WCJ in San Bernardino recently granted my motion to quash when the deposition of applicant's QME was scheduled for defense attorney's office. The WCJ said there is a public policy that favors taking physician depositions in the physician's office so as to cause as little interference as possible to the treatment of other injured workers. The defense attorney bristled but then reset the deposition for the doctor's office.

JCB

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:21 pm
by stewshe@comcast.net
Chirogeek,

The DefAttny would not have set your depo unless instructed to do so by a client. Their client is probably hoping to save money by not having to pay their DefAttny to travel to your office!

Yes, the client will not want to pay your travel time, but I agree with the earlier post, defendants need to pay you in advance your reasonable minimum, plus reasonable travel time at the depo rate...if they want you to travel to the depo.

If they insist and still refuse to pay you appropriately in advance, tell the DefAttny to tell them the same thing my wife used to tell our kids when they went shopping with her in a grocery store....seeing candy, cookies, etc and saying, "I want this." "No, I want that!"

Her reply was a classic! "People in hell want ice water!"

If you want to be polite, explain to the DefAttny, "That is not my problem...it is YOUR problem!"

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California) (California)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:36 am
by steve appell
Hi Chiro:
$12.43 probably doesn't even cover your parking at the def att office! Also, the current mileage rate is 50.5 cents per mile, and i'm sure you can do the math for your 90 or so miles.

I would demand $750 up front which represents 3 hours x $250 (2 hr travel & 1 hr min depo time) or $250 up front with the depo in your office.

GEEZE...let them spend the money to to have a judge sign a Motion to Compel the depo in the def att office if they refuse to do it in yours.

Good Luck !!

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:00 am
by vampireinthenight
I thought the depo fees weren't due until the day of the depo.

May I ask, why four depositions are necessary?

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California) (California)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:31 am
by steve appell
May I ask, why four depositions are necessary?

Because the Dark Side has a tendency to pay such attention to detail that it becomes an obsession eventually becoming an annoyance.......AKA ..."ANAL RETENTIVE"

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:22 pm
by jonbrissman
Vampire wrote, "I thought the depo fees weren't due until the day of the depo."

A prudent doctor will demand depo fees at least a week in advance and articulate a cancellation policy that specifies when the depo fee is earned and no longer refundable. The problem arises when a physician's office blocks some time for a non-prepaid depo in the doctor's schedule, then a party calls to cancel the depo an hour before it was to have started. The physician is left with a block of dead time where no patients are scheduled -- the canceling party has deprived the doctor of income for that period. But if the depo time is prepaid, the canceling party will forfeit it and the doctor is not harmed.

My physician-clients tell me that prepaid depositions are rarely canceled or postponed after the fee-forfeiture date, while non-prepaid depos are canceled or continued with impunity. Demanding prepayment is a tactic necessary to prevent abuse of the doctor's time.

JCB

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:51 am
by vampireinthenight
Articulating a cancellation policy is probably a good idea, but I wonder if doctors would be so kind as to pay an attorney or an IW when the doctor cancels. Doctors aren't the only ones with schedules.

Demanding prepayment seems at odds with the Code of Civil Procedure to me. I guess you could argue that they are going to be entitled to at least 1 hour regardless of what happens, but I don't see any justification for more than that.

Steve, I might propose that... perhaps the report was poorly written? I have little sympathy for doctors who do not write a rateable report, don't respond to supplemental requests and then expect to charge for 4 depositions to clean it up. Not saying that is the case here, but easily a possibility.

Re: Traveling charges for AME. () (California)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:46 am
by cnevans@dir.ca.gov
Please be aware that the new QME regulations - effective February 17, 2009 - require that the deposition be held in the same location where the doctor examined the patient, unless all parties agree to a different location.