Within 60 days from May 19, 1992, the Workers' Compensation Medical Services Board shall submit to the Governor an initial schedule of maximum fees for medical services covered by this article, which schedule shall become effective immediately upon submission to the Governor. The initial schedule of maximum fees shall be established by the board in the manner prescribed in this section. The fee for each service in the schedule shall be exactly equal to an amount derived by multiplying the preferred provider reimbursement customarily paid on May 19, 1992, by the largest health care service plan incorporated pursuant to Sections 10-4-100 to 10-4-115, inclusive, by a factor of 1.075, which product shall be the maximum fee for each such service. In addition the board may submit to the Governor for approval on or before January 31, 1993, a revised schedule of selected fees for medical services covered by this article, which fees shall not exceed the fees established in the initial schedule of fees by more than 2 1/2 percent. The revised schedule of fees, but not individual fees or separate portions thereof, shall be subject to acceptance or rejection by the Governor. If the revised schedule of fees is rejected by the Governor, it shall be referred to the board for further consideration and the initial schedule of maximum fees shall continue to be in effect until the Governor and the board reach agreement; provided, however, the schedule of maximum fees in effect on January 31, 1993, shall not be subject to further revision through this process.
The schedule of maximum fees and any additions, deletions, corrections, or changes thereto shall not be considered a rule or regulation requiring publication under the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act. It is the express legislative intent that the Workers' Compensation Medical Services Board may establish a system of maximum fees under this section for services rendered by physicians to employees covered by the Workers' Compensation Law and that the schedule of fees shall replace and supplant traditional competitive market mechanisms in the interest of obtaining quality physician services in a cost effective manner. The board shall annually adjust the schedule of fees established pursuant to this section by increases which shall be no more than the annual increase in the cost of living as reflected by the U. S. Department of Labor consumer price index. The board may, from time to time, add to or adjust the schedule of fees in response to changes in technology and medical practice, subject only to the right of the Governor to accept or reject the addition or adjustment made by the board, and to refer to the board for further consideration any additions or adjustments which he or she may reject. In the event that at any time a state or federal tax, levy, fee, or assessment is imposed or assessed on physicians licensed to practice medicine which tax, levy, fee, or assessment is based in whole or in part upon the provision of professional services in connection with the practice of medicine, then, in that event, the board may, subject to the approval of the Governor, within three months of the effective date of the tax, levy, fee, or assessment issue a revised schedule of maximum fees which increases the maximum fee for each service reflected therein by an amount which shall be no more than the rate fixed by law of the tax, levy, fee, or assessment. This provision shall not be construed to include income or sales tax increases. The liability of the employer for the payment of services rendered by physicians shall not exceed those maximum fees established by the board and approved by the Governor. The employees shall not be liable to the physician for any amount in excess of the schedule of maximum fees established by the board and approved by the Governor.