Medical treatment guidelines take effect today for the treatment of workers’ compensation injuries in Louisiana.
The guidelines are being instituted by the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration. They were cleared to take effect following District Judge Michael Caldwell’s denial of a preliminary injunction sought by the Louisiana Association of Self Insured Employers (LASIE.)
The guidelines were developed in accordance with La. R.S. 23:1203.1. The guidelines are evidence based and represent the best standards of care and practices for the medical treatment of injured workers. The guidelines cover medical treatment for the spine, upper and lower extremities, neurological and neuromuscular disorders, and pain.
"This should be very exciting news for employers and workers throughout the state because medical quality will improve, workers should return to work faster and employers' medical costs should be contained. Because the guidelines are now in effect, we also can institute another important reform that should lower litigation costs because more medical decisions will be made by doctors rather than in the courts," LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said.
"LASIE's litigation has served only to delay the implementation of these reforms. It has delayed improvements in medical care for injured workers and it has delayed cost containment measures that will benefit all employers in Louisiana, including LASIE's members. We need to be able to continue to reform the system without any more undue interference,” Eysink said.
State legislation passed in 2009 approved the establishment of the medical treatment guidelines in an effort to ensure that injured workers get high quality, efficient and timely medical treatment, which in turn would allow a faster return to work and reduced costs for employers and insurers. Comment and review of the guidelines included a public hearing in February and a legislative hearing in May.
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