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Handling PTSD: New Developments in Minnesota Workers’ Compensation
C. Jeremy Lagasse, Esq. May 18, 2020 12:00:00 AM
On May 4, 2020, new rules went into effect governing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) has stepped into the fray over what constitutes the appropriate administration of treatment in the context of admitted work-related PTSD claims. You will soon be able to find these rules on the website of the Revisor of Statutes under 5221.6700. For now, you can view the new rules on the DOLI website: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/5221_6700_rules_adopted.pdf
PTSD is getting regulatory attention from the work comp system in much the same way that chiropractic treatment has long been subject to “treatment parameters.” Regulation such as this helps provide predictability for providers and insurance companies. The goal is to help remove some of the barriers to treatment faced by suffering workers and help providers feel safe extending their hand to those workers. Injured workers will hopefully benefit from the rules once the rules have produced clear expectations for providers and insurance companies.
Through these new rules, DOLI has provided that workers who have been injured and are suffering from diagnosed PTSD must be afforded 16 weeks of treatment at no more than two visits per week with their licensed psychologist or psychiatrist (more visits may be approved under emergency situations). It is important to note, however, that “there is no limit to the number of [16-week] periods of psychotherapy treatment a patient may receive.”
What does this mean for workers?
For workers, these new rules place a special importance on following their doctor’s orders. This is exemplified when the rule talks about treatment for an additional 16-week period. As with any sort of treatment recommended by the treating doctor, it is critical that injured workers participate to the best of their ability. While perfection is not the standard, it is necessary that workers do the best they can to comply. If you are suffering, do not delay in seeking the help you need!
What does this mean for providers?
For providers, these new rules may create extra paperwork and headache (at first). Few doctors enjoy being taken away from their life-changing work by administrative duties. That being said, providers should put systems in place to help comply with the new rules so they can spend more of their time treating patients and getting compensated accordingly. Importantly, if a provider follows the letter of the rule when requesting permission to keep treating their patient and the insurance adjuster fails to respond by “approving . . . , denying . . . , [or] scheduling [an IME]” within seven working days, the treatment should be considered AUTHORIZED!
The bottom line
New and exciting changes are taking place in Minnesota to help workers suffering from PTSD.
If you have any questions regarding PTSD and your workers compensation claims or providers, we can help. Contact our office today at 651-493-0426 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys!