Self-Insured Employer appeals the findings that the Employee’s pain clinic treatment and medication were reasonable and necessary, arguing that the Compensation Judge did not specifically address a treatment parameter defense raised at trial.
The Employee suffered a work related injury on August 19, 2009, subsequently undergoing two surgeries, including a total knee arthroplasty.
The Employee’s treating orthopedist gave him permanent restrictions of stretching his knee for five minutes each hour, but no restrictions on lifting, movement, or hours worked. The Employee subsequently began treating with United Pain Center, receiving injections and opioid medication. The Employee’s treating orthopedist and pain clinician agreed the Employee should discontinue use of opioid medication. The Employee was subsequently seen by an IME physician who found that the Employee’s medical regimen was not reasonable or necessary in accordance with Minnesota Rule 5221.6105.
At hearing, there was some confusion regarding whether a treatment parameter defense was raised. Originally, the parties stipulated that no treatment parameter defense was being raised but the stipulation was later withdrawn and argument was given regarding application to the treatment parameters. The Compensation Judge ruled that the treatment was reasonable and necessary but did not address a treatment parameter defense.
The WCCA remanded, holding that the compensation judge must address the treatment parameter defense because the medication used by the Employee is subject to the treatment parameter rule. The issue was vacated and remanded to the Compensation Judge.