When the Workers’ Compensation Board adopted new guidelines at the end of 2010, many workers were unaware how these changes would impact their benefits. The new Medical Treatment Guidelines were implemented on December 1, 2010 and since that time injured workers have discovered medical treatment has either been reduced or denied.
Workers’ injured prior to the new guidelines are finding it difficult to receive the medical treatment needed as a result of the changes. Doctors must comply with a complex set of regulations that hinder the ability to receive necessary treatment, regardless of when the injury occurred.
Supporters of the new guidelines believe they are beneficial in that a uniform standard of care is available across the board. The guidelines should help medical providers follow up on patient care to determine if the quality of care that is needed is being provided as well as whether or not treatments are actually helping injured workers’ recover.
On the other side of the argument are the injured workers themselves and their advocates. They claim the new guidelines have interfered with ongoing care of workers’ injured prior to the implementation of guidelines which have caused confusion among those in the medical profession.
Due to the ongoing debate over how these new rules have affected the medical care of injured workers, consideration is being given to the altering of these guidelines by state lawmakers. The standard of care for injured workers depends on the reaction of lawmakers. If the guidelines are upheld, all workers injured on the job will be treated the same way regardless of when the injury occurred. If legislation is passed to alter the guidelines, only workers who have been injured since the implementation of the new rules will be affected by them.