The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 663a. Workers' compensation dispute mediation
(a) The Commissioner shall require mediation in certain workers' compensation disputes. In each case, after a request for formal hearing has been filed, in accordance with the rule, the Commissioner may determine whether the disputed issue and the parties are appropriate for mediation prior to a formal hearing and whether mediation would speed resolution of the dispute without the time and expense of a hearing. If the Commissioner determines that mediation is appropriate, the Commissioner shall order the parties to attend at least one mediation session prior to a scheduled hearing. Referring a case to mediation shall not cause a delay in setting a date for the formal hearing. The Commissioner shall, by rule, determine the procedures by which cases are selected and scheduled for mediation.
(b) The costs of mediation shall be divided evenly between the claimant and the employer, unless the parties agree otherwise. The cost of the mediation, up to the amount set by rule, shall be a cost recoverable by the claimant pursuant to section 678 of this title.
(c) The Commissioner shall select or make available a list of qualified individuals to act as mediators, which may include nonattorneys, provided they are experienced in workers' compensation, including former Department employees and insurance adjusters. The mediators shall be compensated at rates set by rule of the Commissioner.
(d) Prior to implementing this section, the Commissioner shall consult with the Department of Labor Advisory Council established by section 1306 of this title, the workers' compensation committees of the Vermont Bar Association and the Vermont Trial Lawyers' Association, representatives of insurers who provide workers' compensation coverage in Vermont, and with other appropriate parties. (Added 2007, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)