Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Employer did not lose its right to direct medical

Claimant Pace sustained permanent and total disability as a result of work injuries in 2002 while employed for the City of Joseph.   In 2011 the Commission issued a final award for past medical bills and an order for the employer to direct and authorize and furnish medical care in accordance with section 287.140.Pace v  City of St. Joseph, WD 77976 (April 21, 2015).  Claimant Pace asserts that he has the right to pick his own medical doctors and require the employer to pay for it. 

Pace registered the judgment and both parties sought declaratory judgments whether the employer had the right to direct medical providers.  This prior award included a finding that the city had previously waived its right to direct its worker to medical doctors as provided in 287.140. The trial court granted the City's motion for summary judgment and Pace appealed. 

The court affirmed the summary judgment that the award allowed the employer the right to select the provider as provided in 287.140 because the award itself was "in accordance" with the statute.  The court found that claimant did not timely preserve the issue because he did not appeal it to the commission regarding the ALJ and Commission's power to restore the City's right to select a provider and could not challenge the issue in a collateral attack.  The court distinguished between findings of waiver for past medical care and cases in which the Commission had specifically ordered future medical services from a claimant's spouse.