§ 1111.5. Scheduling the hearing.

 (a)  Appointment of a hearing examiner. The local agency shall appoint a hearing examiner to preside over the appeal. The hearing examiner shall be an impartial official who does not have a personal stake or involvement in the decision, and who was not directly involved in the action being contested.

 (b)  Notification of the appeal. The local agency shall notify the hearing examiner of the appeal and the date on which it was docketed.

 (c)  Time frame for scheduling a hearing. The hearing examiner shall schedule the hearing within 3 weeks from the docketed date of the appeal. The hearing examiner shall provide the appellant participant or authorized representative with a minimum of 10 days advance written notice of the time and place of the hearing.

 (d)  Standards for scheduling the hearing. The hearing examiner shall use the following standards in scheduling a hearing:

   (1)  The place of the hearing may not be further from the residence of the applicant or participant than the county seat of the county in which the applicant or participant resides. If the county seat is unsuitable due to the health of the applicant or participant, transportation problems, convenience of witnesses or for other legitimate reasons, an alternative place of hearing shall be a location convenient to the home of the applicant or participant.

   (2)  If the applicant, participant or authorized representative wants to postpone the hearing, that individual shall contact the hearing examiner, and the local agency and provide them with a reason for postponement. If the hearing is postponed by the hearing examiner, the hearing examiner shall reschedule it as soon as possible.

   (3)  An applicant, participant or authorized representative may withdraw the appeal at any time before a decision is issued by the hearing examiner. This withdrawal shall be in writing and directed to the hearing examiner.

   (4)  If the applicant or participant fails to appear at the scheduled hearing in person or by authorized representative, without good cause as determined by the hearing examiner, the appeal shall be considered abandoned and shall be discontinued.

 (e)  Independent assessment. The hearing examiner shall order, when relevant and necessary, an independent medical assessment or professional evaluation of the applicant or participant from a source mutually satisfactory to the applicant or participant or its authorized representative, and the local agency.

 (f)  Supersession. Subsection (d)(3) supersedes 1 Pa. Code §  35.51 (relating to withdrawal of pleadings).

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