After a physical injury at work, the employer is required to furnish the injured employee medical benefits which include medical, surgical, psychological, and other related or derivative treatment at hospitals and physical therapy facilities. See, O.C.G.A. §34-9-200(a). The employer/insurer will be entitled to enjoy the State Board of Workers’ Compensation fee schedule for the payment of these services. The injured worker should not be charged for this related treatment and he or she should be entitled to transportation or mileage reimbursement.
With particular regard to physical therapy, these sessions should be prescribed by the authorized treating physician. This type of physical treatment is aimed at improving mobility and to relieve pain. It also strives to improve or restore physical functioning after an injury. Moreover, physical therapy should improve the injured worker’s fitness level. In many workers’ compensation cases, the recommended treatment plan will often require physical therapy either before and /or after surgery. Physical therapy is common in workers’ compensation cases involving spinal injury cases (neck and back) as well as work injuries involving shoulder and knee tears. Physical therapy may be done at clinics (HealthSouth or Resurgens) or hospitals (St. Joseph’s or Northside). It will almost always include a “home exercise” component as well.
In the workers’ compensation setting, it is very important that the injured worker attend and attempt physical therapy. At the Ramos Law Firm, we firmly believe that your health is at the utmost importance, and you must do everything you can to restore and improve your physical condition after a work injury. It is important that the injured worker have a good working relationship with the physical therapist and understand they are there to help you “get better.” However, if the physical therapy is not working, there is no need to injure yourself more. Be open and honest with the therapist and keep him or her informed of your pain at the clinic, as well as how sore or tired you become at home. These physical therapy facilities function on information provided by the patient and what they observe during the “work out” or “session.” In many cases, the injured employee may also undergo massage therapy or aqua therapy as a part of the overall treatment plan. The authorized treating physician should review the physical therapist’s reports and incorporate those findings in how your future treatment plan should be formulated.
If you have any questions about physical therapy and workers’ compensation, feel free to contact the Ramos Law Firm.