What does it mean when my Workers' Compensation
case is made stationary?
By Erica Melendez, Associate Attorney
When a doctor finds that your medical condition has stabilized to the point that no further medical treatment will improve your condition, or that you have reached “MMI- maximum medical improvement”, your worker’s compensation case can be determined to be stationary. This does not mean that the doctor is saying you are completely healed, it just means that your healing has stabilized and the doctor isn’t recommending any further treatment that will help your condition get better. At this point the doctor should also give their opinion as to whether you have permanent impairment to your body, if you have permanent work restrictions and whether you need “supportive care”.
“Supportive Care” is treatment to keep your medical condition at the same point that it is when the doctor stated you were at maximum medical improvement. If your case is stationary the carrier will send out a notice that says you are stationary and will send out notices that award you the payment for the permanent disability and award the supportive care.
Your treating doctor can give the opinion that you have reached maximum medical improvement and give opinions as to the impairment and supportive care. If the carrier accepts the treating doctor’s recommendations that is ideal. However at times the carrier will decide to send you to an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with another doctor and that doctor will indicate whether he or she agrees with the determination that you are stationary and will give opinions as to how much permanent impairment and supportive care you should be awarded. If this is different from your treating doctor’s opinion and you wish to appeal the determination of the carrier, you can Request a Hearing with the Industrial Commission.
If the carrier closes the case using an IME to determine you have reached MMI, you can show the IME to your treating doctor, if your doctor does not agree with the determination that you have reached MMI, you can request a hearing with the Industrial Commission. An Administrative Law Judge will then determine which doctor they find to be more probably correct and will determine if your case should be made stationary or not. If your case is found to be stationary based on the opinion of a doctor that is not your treating doctor, always take the opportunity to request that your treating doctor review the other doctor’s opinion and find out if your doctor agrees with the opinions as to whether you require additional treatment, how much permanent impairment you are granted and your supportive care award.
For more information about Snow, Carpio & Weekley, visit www.workinjuryaz.com