NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
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Claimant was involved in a compensable work accident in 2001. She received total disability benefits until they were terminated in 2010. She received significant awards of lumbar and cervical spine permanent impairment. In 2020, Employer filed a Petition seeking to terminate ongoing narcotic medications and injections provided by Drs. Woo and Winas.
In accordance with the opinion of the defense medical expert, Dr. Townsend, the Board granted Employer’s Petition finding that claimant was required to wean over a 10-month period of time, and that injections were no longer reasonable, necessary, or causally related. The Board questioned claimant’s credibility as to whether her treatment was effective in improving her function, noting that despite extensive evidence that she was physically able to return to work for over 10 years, she never actually attempted to return to work in any capacity. The claimant was utilizing approximately 300 morphine milligram equivalents (“MME”) of narcotic medication per day, which was grossly in excess of limits of 90 MME set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. Supposedly effective injections never resulted in a reduction in narcotic medication levels. The Hearing Officer rejected arguments from the claimant as to the “stable” nature of the treatment course, commenting that “simply because Claimant has been on the same pain management regimen for an extended period does not guarantee that a continuation of such treatment remains reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the work accident.”
This Decision represents a continuation of a trend in Board decisions ordering weaning from narcotic medications, where not effective, even when the medications have been prescribed for many years.
Should you have any questions concerning this Decision or the compensability of chronic pain management treatment in general, please contactJohn Morgan or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department atHeckler & Frabizzio.
Deborah Cantoni v. Delaware Park, IAB Hrg. No. 1213719 (Jan. 12, 2021).