108A-59. Acceptance of medical assistance constitutes assignment to the State of right to third party benefits; recovery procedure.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, by accepting medical assistance, the recipient shall be deemed to have made an assignment to the State of the right to third party benefits, contractual or otherwise, to which he may be entitled.

It shall be the responsibility of the county attorney of the county from which the medical assistance benefits are received or an attorney retained by that county and/or the State to enforce this subsection, and said attorney shall be compensated for his services in accordance with the attorneys' fee arrangements approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

(b) The responsible State agency will establish a third party resources collection unit that is adequate to assure maximum collection of third party resources.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, in all actions brought pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to obtain reimbursement for payments for medical services, liability shall be determined on the basis of the same laws and standards, including bases for liability and applicable defenses, as would be applicable if the action were brought by the individual on whose behalf the medical services were rendered. (1977, c. 664; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1312, ss. 3-5; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1995, c. 508, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)