Court of Appeals Upholds decision: Physical Therapy may be received in Home State

In the case of Annett Holdings v. Roland, No. 15-0043, the Court of Appeals upheld a previous decision that an injured man can receive ongoing physical therapy treatment in Alabama, his home state, as opposed to Des Moines, the location of his employer.

Anthony Roland, a truck driver for Annett Holdings, injured his elbow and, upon receiving treatment, was notified that he could only work light duty. As per a “memorandum of understanding” with his employer, Annett Holdings, he temporarily relocated from his home of Alabama to Des Moines, the location of his employer, to receive medical treatment. After a period of time receiving treatment in Des Moines, Roland indicated that his elbow injury was not improving and Annett Holdings allowed him to seek treatment from a physician in his home state, Alabama.

The physician performed surgery and ordered Roland to be released from work temporarily. In addition, he prescribed physical therapy, and that treatment began in Alabama. After a period of time, Roland’s physician decided he could return to light work, at which point Annett Holdings ordered Roland to report to Des Moines. Roland relocated to a hotel in Des Moines where he received physical therapy services at the hotel and performed limited work duties with his employer.

Dissatisfied with the physical therapy he was receiving, Roland filed a petition that the care he required nearly 900 miles from his home was unduly inconvenient. The deputy noted that the “memorandum of understanding” was in violation of 85.18 of Iowa Code. A district court agreed with this ruling and noted, among other things, that the care that Roland could receive in Alabama was medically superior to the care he could receive in a hotel in Des Moines.

Roland noted that the care that he received in Iowa was inadequate as he received it in the fitness center of the hotel, which was not properly equipped to treat his injury. He noted he had to sit on the floor, and the therapist did not bring any equipment to address his injury, nor did such equipment exist in the fitness center. Finally, he noted that travel to Des Moines interfered with his ability to use his cooling device as prescribed by his physician.

The court affirmed that the treatment was inconvenient, inferior, and prevented the use of the prescribed cooling machine. The court also affirmed the previous decision, that the “memorandum of understanding” was in violation of 85.18 of Iowa Code.

This case is an example of how employers may violate Iowa Code and the rights of individuals to receive proper medical treatment as part of their workers compensation claim. If you have questions about your workers compensation claim or feel that your rights may have been violated, contact us today.

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