Any party in an appeal may request mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process by which an appellant and a CRS representative may work with a trained mediator to resolve a dispute about determinations that affect the appellant's services from the CRS program.
Participation in the mediation process is voluntary on the part of a consumer and the CRS program.
The mediation process cannot deny or delay:
- the appellant's right to pursue resolution of the dispute through an impartial hearing held 60 days from receipt of the appellant's request for a due-process hearing; or
- any other rights described in this chapter.
At any point during mediation, either party or the mediator may decide to end the mediation. When mediation is ended, either party may pursue resolution through an impartial hearing.
When the CRS hearings coordinator receives a request for mediation, the Hearings Coordinator selects an individual from a list of qualified mediators who are knowledgeable about the laws and regulations concerning services from the CRS program.
Mediation sessions are scheduled and conducted timely, and are held in a location and manner that is convenient to parties to the dispute.
Discussions that occur during the mediation process are kept confidential, and are not used as evidence in any subsequent due-process hearing or civil proceedings. The parties to the mediation process may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge before the process begins.
Any agreement reached during the mediation must be in writing and signed by all parties. The agreement becomes a part of the consumer's case file.
The CRS program pays the cost of a mediation session. However, the CRS program does not pay for costs related to the appellant's representation by counsel or other advocate selected by the appellant.