110 CMR 10.29 - Decision

(1) The Hearing Officer shall render a written decision within 60 business days after the close of the record unless notice is provided to the Appellant that a longer period of time is needed to reach a decision and the time for issuance of such decision shall be extended for an additional 30 business days. The Hearing Officer may not extend such time for hearings deemed to be expedited hearings and must issue such decisions within 60 business days after the close of the record.
(2) The Hearing Officer may affirm the challenged decision, reverse the challenged decision or remand the decision to the Area Office or Provider to obtain additional information or to take further action. In making a determination on these questions, the Fair Hearing Officer shall give due weight to the clinical decision made by a Department social worker.
(3) If the Hearing Officer recommends to reverse the decision of the Area Office or provider, the Hearing Officer shall submit to the Commissioner or designee the Hearing Officer's written decision within the timeframe as set forth above. Simultaneously the Hearing Officer shall send to the Appellant notification that the Hearing Officer has submitted his or her decision to the Commissioner or designee recommending a reversal of the Area Office's decision. Such notice shall inform the Appellant that if the Commissioner or designee does not issue a decision within 21 business days, the recommendation of the Hearing Officer shall become the final decision of the Department. The Commissioner or designee may accept the Hearing Officer's recommendation or may overturn the Hearings Officer's decision. If the Commissioner or designee determines that he or she will overturn the Hearing Officer's decision to reverse the decision of the Department, the Commissioner or designee shall write the reasons why he or she does not agree with the decision of the Hearing Officer and why he or she holds that the analysis of the findings by the Hearing Officers is not accepted and shall append to the Hearings Officer's findings and recommendation to such decision. The Commissioner or designee may not make additional findings of fact to the Hearing Officer's findings, which shall be binding on the Commissioner. The decision to overturn the Hearing Officer shall be solely based upon an analysis of the Hearing Officer's findings and the Department's regulations, policy, procedures and the applicable statutes and case law. The decision to either accept or overturn the Hearing Officer's decision must be issued within 21 business days of the Hearing Officer's submitted decision and shall be the final decision of the agency. If the Commissioner or designee fails to issue any written order within 21 business days from the submitted decision, then the Hearing Officer's decision shall issue without such Commissioner's review and shall be the final decision of the agency. The Hearing Officer shall promptly forward a copy of the decision by mail to each of the parties.
(4) For the purposes of 110 CMR 10.29(3) the Commissioner's designee shall not be the General Counsel.
(5) In the event a hearing officer becomes unavailable before completing the written decision, the Director of Fair Hearings or designee shall appoint a successor to assume the case and render a fair hearing decision. If the presentation of the evidence has been completed and the record is closed, the successor shall decide the case on the basis of the record, including reviewing all exhibits and the recording of the hearing. Otherwise, the successor may either proceed with evidence or require presentation of evidence again from the beginning.


110 CMR 10.29

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