Home > Medical Provider Network, QMEs, Tactics and Strategy > The MPN is Back! (For Now)

The MPN is Back! (For Now)

The post made on Wednesday had some scary implications.  Fortunately, it appears there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it has a 50-50 chance of not being a train.

In the case of Michael Thomas v. Safeway Stores Inc., the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board had previously ruled that the self-insured employer must pay for surgery to be performed by a surgeon in Washington, even though there were eleven surgeons in Safeway’s medical provider network which could do the surgery and were close to applicant’s residence in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Panic ensued among the defense community as the California Applicant’s Attorneys Association toasted to the death of the MPN over flutes of champagne.  But it appears that Safeway stood firm and in filing a petition for reconsideration was rewarded with the sight of the WCAB blinking.

Standing firm against the waves is a sensation every workers’ compensation defense attorney wants to feel – staying standing when the wave crashes against you is one rarely felt.

A new order issued granting reconsideration, giving the parties ten days to settle this dispute or to return to the workers’ compensation judge to give the defense a chance to cross-examine the panel qualified medical evaluator and offer rebuttal evidence.  After all, defendant’s due process rights were summarily brushed off thus far.

Defendant’s offer to settle the matter was fairly reasonable:  Safeway would pay for the surgery under the California fee schedule and applicant would pay for travel and lodging.  There is no word yet on whether the applicant, let alone the surgeon in Washington, would agree to these terms.

In short, it appears that sanity might return to the world of workers’ compensation, even if for a short while.  Workers’ compensation lawyers and adjusters can rejoice in that, at least for now.  Despite rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air, the MPN flag is still there!

In what is quickly developing into an MPN trifecta here at WCDefenseCA, drop by on Monday to see another pro-MPN opinion recently released into the wild.

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