(1) Except as provided in (2), parties having a dispute involving legal rights, duties, or privileges, where the dispute is one over which the department has jurisdiction to hold a hearing, must bring the dispute to the department for a contested case hearing.
(2) The following disputes are required to follow the administrative rules on mediation before proceeding as provided by statute to either a contested case hearing before the department or a case in the workers' compensation court:
(a) disputes over benefits available directly to a claimant under Title 39, chapter 71, MCA;
(b) disputes between an insurer and a medical service provider regarding medical services provided; and
(c) disputes involving a determination of the independent contractor central unit regarding the issue of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.
(3) A contested case concerning employment classifications assigned to an employer by a Plan 2 or Plan 3 insurer is administered by the classification review committee in accordance with 33-16-1012, MCA.
(4) A contested case held by the department under Title 39, chapters 71 or 73, MCA, is administered by the department in accordance with ARM 24.2.101 and 24.29.201(2).