How do I get my injuries treated ?

Under the present Rules and Regulations as promulgated by the WCB as exemplified by the latest Medical Treatment Guidelines ( MTG ) effective December 1, 2010 injuries effecting arms, knees backs and  necks are described in a detailed 200 page document available to all individuals participating in the workers compensation system . This document tries to provide and permit standard medical practices for many types of medical conditions. When treatment or conditions are not found or fully handled in the MTG, the health provider may file a variance to the MTG and then procedural requirements exist to eventually resolve any dispute. The question arises as to how these variances should be evaluated. The present system permits either medical arbitration or WCL judges review. When the question goes to a law judge, the difficulty develops as to what is the medical basis that the judge can use to review and decide such issues. On a simplified approach the judges can rule based upon whether the health provider has met their burden of proof. When this means is there any evidence submitted then the judge has no problem making a decision. When the issue  is comparing medical opinion on reasons for one type of medical form of treatment over another; a strong complaint can be made that the judge is not legally competent to give or evaluate such medical opinion.  They should be able to hear the reasons presented but do not have the medical expertise to weigh one opinion over another. If the procedure is not prohibited by the guidelines and a health provider can explain why such a procedure is appropriate consistent with present medical custom and usage then only an impartial medical expert should be used to resolve the dispute not a law judge. This is the very nub of the problem with the medical guidelines as they presently exist., The issue gets murkier when only one side provides a medical opinion from a licensed medical provider. We’ll have to see how this develops as more cases are presented and litigated.

Eliot S. Levine & Associates
Attorneys at Law
1455 Veterans Highway
Hauppauge, New York  11749
Telephone: (631) 234-5484
Fax: (631) 234-5561

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