I was in a Contested Case Hearing this week. The issue before the hearing officer was maximum medical improvement and impairment rating. We had a DWC-69 from the treating doctor that said the claimant was not yet at maximum medical improvement. The insurance company had a 5% impairment from a post DD RME.
Finally, we had the DD (Designated Doctor), who had a DWC-69 with a 5%. But in the body of his report, the DD stated that the actual impairment was a 15%. He went on to state that his previous report included the causation of the full injury and all together it should be 15%. The 5% was for what the insurance company’s letter stated was compensable.
Thank you Matt Lewis (www.dallasworkcomp.com) for sending me over the Appeal Panel number I needed during the hearing. I remembered the nature of the case. But, I couldn’t remember the number and I was with a new judge who didn’t know it.
Appeals Panel Decision No. 111393 states that although there was no DSC-69 in evidence to support the hearing officer’s decision. However, the Appeals found that it was proper for the hearing officer to rely upon the evidence in the medical records.
With all the pressure that the Division of Workers Compensation is placing on the Designated Doctors, it is nice to see that we can actually look at the reports and not just a form with the blanks filled in.
Daniel L Morris
The Morris Law Firm