In non-catastrophic cases, an injured worker is entitled to a maximum of 400 weeks of medical benefits paid directly to the treating physician. In Georgia Workers Compensation, medical treatment is allowed by the authorized physician that helps return the injured worker to work. Unfortunately, medical treatment that does not affect an injured workers ability to work is precluded and not covered by the workers compensation carrier, such as plastic surgery to correct burn scars. A good attorney, like ReisLaw, however, can help fight for some of these borderline treatments to be covered by the carrier. A good attorney can also fight for authorization of necessary medial treatments that the workers compensation doctor refuses to order.
Definition of medical treatment
Medical treatment means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. Medical treatment includes:
- All treatment not otherwise excluded (below).
- Using prescription medications, or use of a non-prescription drug at prescription strength.
- Using wound closing devices such as surgical glue, sutures, and staples.
- Using any devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body.
- Administration of oxygen to treat injury or illness.
Exclusions from definition of medical treatment
For OSHA recording purposes, medical treatment excludes the following items:
- Observation or counseling. Visits to a physician or other licensed health care professional solely for observation or counseling;
- Diagnostic procedures. The conduct of diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests, including the administration of prescription medications used solely for diagnostic purposes (e.g., eye drops to dilate pupils); or
- First aid. First aid as defined below.
Definition of first aid — excluded from medical treatment
For OSHA recording purposes, “first aid” includes the following items. This is a complete list of all treatments considered to be first aid by OSHA.
- Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (NOTE: for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
- Administering tetanus immunizations (NOTE: other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment);
- Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin;
- Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (NOTE: other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment);
- Using hot or cold therapy;
- Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (NOTE: devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
- Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
- Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister;
- Using eye patches;
- Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab;
- Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means;
- Using finger guards;
- Using massages (NOTE: physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes); or
- Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.
If you were injured at work you need to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Only a lawyer in that field of expertise will be able to tell you your rights in your unique situation. Call 404.876.4200 today for a free consultation. The attorneys at ReisLaw are dedicated to Georgia Workers.