(a) Whenever a dispute develops concerning medical services under this part, the district director shall attempt to informally resolve such dispute. In this regard the district director may, on his or her own initiative or at the request of the responsible operator order the claimant to submit to an examination by a physician selected by the district director.
(b) If no informal resolution is accomplished, the district director shall refer the case to the Office of Administrative Law Judges for hearing in accordance with this part. Any such hearing shall be scheduled at the earliest possible time and shall take precedence over all other requests for hearing except for prior requests for hearing arising under this section and as provided by § 727.405 of this subchapter (see § 725.4(d)). During the pendency of such adjudication, the Director may order the payment of medical benefits prior to final adjudication under the same conditions applicable to benefits awarded under § 725.522.
(c) In the development or adjudication of a dispute over medical benefits, the adjudication officer is authorized to take whatever action may be necessary to protect the health of a totally disabled miner.
(d) Any interested medical provider may, if appropriate, be made a party to a dispute over medical benefits.
Title 20 published on 2014-04-01
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