Archive for January 2017
In September of 2010, the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) were amended with respect to Costs of Examinations. A cap of $2,000.00 was placed on each assessment completed, either for the insured or the insurer.
This cap has proven difficult for some more complex assessments, including neuropsychological assessments. In order to obtain a reliable assessment the cost is well beyond $2,000.00.
Many in the accident benefits community (plaintiff lawyers acting on behalf of injured victims, as well as insurers) have been getting around this cap by dividing up the assessment into two distinct assessments; normally a “psychological” assessment and a “neuropsychological” assessment. For the most part this has been widely accepted as a way to comply with the statutory limit while getting a fairly reliable assessment report. There have been a few insurers who have not agreed with this approach.
A recent FSCO arbitration decision, Breadner and Co-operators [FSCO A15-005120] has challenged this approach.
A Treatment and Assessment Plan (OCF-18) was submitted on behalf of Ms. Breadner with the following breakdown of costs:
- Neuropsychological Interview – $2,000.00
- Neuropsychological Testing – $2,000.00
- Neuropsychological Screen related to the OCF-18 – $250.00
- OCF-18 – $200.00
With taxes, the total amount of the proposed OCF-18 was $5,028.50.
Co-operators paid $2,200.00 for the cost of one assessment, plus $200.00 for the cost of completing the OCF-18. They also paid the applicable HST for one assessment. Ms. Breadner applied for arbitration to claim the costs of the second assessment.
Arbitrator Caroline King determined that the assessment work constituted one assessment within the meaning of the SABS. She noted that the OCF-18 identifies a neuropsychological assessment and the documents/reports themselves had the same purpose identified, the same author of both reports on the same date, the same dates of examination and the same tests administered. It was also noted that the results and information in the second document were incorporated by reference into the first document.
Arbitrator King concluded that, “When these points are considered as a whole, I find that the nature, content, and language of the documents clearly supports a finding that the work done constituted one assessment.”
This decision presents a quandary for both injured individuals as well as insurers. Unless the two assessments are distinct, they may not be entirely paid for by the insurer. However, any insurance company taking this position would do so at their own peril, as it would also prohibit them from getting a complete neuropsychological assessment as well under Section 44 of the SABS (insurer’s examinations).
The entire decision can be read in its entirety at the link below: