Compliance Corner: How Does Oregon Determine Medically Stationary Status?

10 Jan, 2024 Frank Ferreri

                               

Eugene, OR (WorkersCompensation.com) -- To determine medically stationary status in Oregon, state statutes spell out what must be present. The following breaks down the requirements.

In Oregon, a worker is medically stationary in the following circumstances:

In initial injury claims. In an initial injury claim, a worker is medically stationary when the attending physician, authorized nurse practitioner, or a preponderance of medical opinion declares that all accepted conditions and direct medical sequelae of accepted conditions are either "medically stationary" or "medically stable" or when the provider uses other language meaning the same thing.

In new or omitted condition claims. In a new or omitted condition claim, a worker is medically stationary when the attending physician, authorized nurse practitioner, or a preponderance of medical opinion declares that all accepted new or omitted conditions and direct medical sequelae of accepted new or omitted conditions are either "medically stationary" or "medically stable" or when the provider uses other language meaning the same thing.

In aggravation claims. In an aggravation claim, a worker is medically stationary when the attending physician, authorized nurse practitioner, or a preponderance of medical opinion declares that all accepted worsened conditions and direct medical sequelae of accepted worsened conditions are either "medically stationary" or "medically stable" or when the provider uses other language meaning the same thing.

In occupational disease claims. In an occupational disease claim, a worker is medically stationary when the attending physician, authorized nurse practitioner, or a preponderance of medical opinion declares that all accepted occupational diseases and direct medical sequela of accepted occupational diseases are either "medically stationary" or "medically stable" or when the provider uses other language meaning the same thing.

Conflict. When there is a conflict in the medical opinions as to whether a worker is medically stationary, more weight is given to medical opinions that are based on the most accurate history, on the most objective findings, on sound medical principles, and clear and concise reasoning.

When there is no preponderance. Where there is not a preponderance of medical opinion stating a worker is or is not medically stationary, deference will generally be given to the opinion of the attending physician. However, in cases where expert analysis is important, deference is given to the opinion of the physician with the greatest expertise in, and understanding of, the worker’s medical condition.

Conflict about dates. When there is a conflict as to the date upon which a worker became medically stationary, the following conditions govern the determination of the medically stationary date. The date a worker is medically stationary is the earliest date that a preponderance is established. The date of the examination, not the date of the report, controls the medically stationary date.

Requiring concurrence. The insurer may request that the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner concur with or comment on the closing examination when the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner arranges or refers the worker for a closing examination with another physician. When the insurer closes a claim relying on an independent medical examination to support a preponderance of opinion establishing medically stationary status, before issuing the closure the insurer must request the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner to concur with or comment on the independent medical examination. A concurrence with another physician’s report is an agreement in every particular, including the medically stationary impression and date, unless the physician expressly states to the contrary and explains the reasons for disagreement. Concurrence cannot be presumed in the absence of the attending physician’s response.

When there is not a specific date. A worker is medically stationary on the date so specified by a physician. When a specific date is not indicated, a worker is presumed medically stationary on the date of the last examination, prior to the date of the medically stationary opinion. Physician-projected medically stationary dates cannot be used to establish a medically stationary date.

Incarcerated workers. If the worker is incarcerated or confined in some other manner and unable to freely seek medical treatment, the insurer must arrange for closing medical examinations to be completed at the facility where the worker is located or at some other location accessible to the worker.

Death of a worker. If a worker dies and the attending physician has not established a medically stationary date, for purposes of claim closure, the medically stationary date is the date of death.

Retroactive determinations. A physician or nurse practitioner may not retroactively determine a worker to be medically stationary more than 60 days prior to the date of the determination.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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