|By Jim Camden, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Instead, legislators had to settle for discussions on how some state agencies might make some changes in the way they handle appeals of their decisions to improve both fairness and the appearance of fairness.
Peterson, who has been a hearings officer at the
She told the committee she strives to give everyone a fair, independent hearing and doesn't believe any of her decisions has ever been overturned on appeal. But she couldn't talk about the specifics of the hospital case because of a "gag directive" from Commissioner
The investigation should be available by the beginning of July and the final report will be available, Deputy Commissioner
"This is a personnel matter under investigation by the executive branch. It's due in two weeks," Kline said. "It's not our business."
But Padden said the committee could consider whether to propose legislation that would move the hearings officer out of the insurance commissioner's office, make hearings officers more independent or make interference with the process by other officials in the agency a gross misdemeanor. Those bills can't be introduced until December, the month before
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