In December 2014, New York State adopted and put in effect the Non-Acute Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines. The Guidelines are there to help advise medical professionals on necessary treatments for bodily injuries and/or diseases sustained from a workplace incident. The update from the previous Medial Treatment Guidelines focus on the medical care and treatment of a work-related injury as they strive to restore functionality or ability so that the injured employee can return to work rather than a person with long-term pain.
As an employee who may have been injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions about treatments and medications. We will cover the most frequently asked questions regarding Non-Acute Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines but feel free to contact us for more information or how EMD Law can help.
As a part of these updated treatment guidelines, the focus is on the prescribing and treatment for non-acute pain for workers’ compensation claims. The change is aimed at helping physicians to properly prescribe opiates and other pain medications to injured workers who have long-term pain.
New York Non-Acute Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines
In addition to outlining proper processes and procedures for the medical professional providing care and treatment, the Guidelines provide an in depth look into questions surrounding neck injuries, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, shoulder injuries, mid and lower back injury treatments and more relating to on-the-job injuries or work-related illnesses.
Included in the Guidelines are:
- Medical Care: Medical treatment of a work-related injury should be focused on restoring the patient’s health to its preinjury status or as close to it as possible. The focus of the medical care is to restore functionality to meet the patient daily work activities to allow them to return to work.
- Injury Treatment Time Frames:Time frames for specific interventions begin once the treatment(s) have been initiated, as opposed to the date of the injury. This is a very important thing to note. Timelines and duration could be impacted by the injury severity, patient compliance, and availability of services among other aspects.
- Returning to Work:Returning to work after a job-related injury is defined by the Guidelines as any work or duty the patient can safely perform. This does include tasks that may not have previously been part of the patient’s regular work. Achieving the ability to return to work is part of the medical professional’s care and is to be included in the treatment and rehabilitation plan.
- Job Site Evaluation- The physician treating the patient may communicate with the employee, to obtain information about the physical demand of the patient’s job. They will ask for information about the exertional demand, lifting of weight, posture activities and other aspects regarding the job’s demands.
- Non-Acute Pain Definition: As defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain, “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience usually associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.” Typically, acute pain is connected to a precipitating event (e.g., trauma or surgery). Non-acute pain is a biopsychosocial process that is recognized as occurring during which time the patient reports enduring persistent pain that goes beyond the anticipated recovery time and results in concurrent functional limitations.
- Back Injury:The Guidelines outline treatment approaches for medical professionals to abide by with an emphasis on patient responsibility, such as therapeutic exercise and/or functional treatment to help the mid to lower back injury. Treatments are viewed as a means to facilitate progress and the attainment of objective functional gains.
- Neck Injury: Care and treatment that is required of a medical professional due to a work-related neck injury should be focused on restoring the functional ability necessary to meet the patient’s daily activities and be able to return to work. Such focus is an effort that strives to restore the patient’s health to their preinjury status. Getting the patient back to preinjury status is a main focus.
- Shoulder Injury:Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is amongst the care and treatment schedules medical professionals and patients must adhere to that relates to the patient’s ability to return to work after a work-related shoulder injury. Areas such as endurance, postural tolerance, worker habits, employability and other areas may be evaluated during the timeline. The patient should be back to pre-injured status before returning to work.
With a focus on our clients, we strive to help injured workers receive the medical care and treatments they deserve so that they can recover in an optimal amount of time and to begin working as much as possible. The office of Erwin, McCane & Daly offer a free initial consultation , during which time a lawyer will assess the facts that surround your workers’ compensation case to help achieve the desired outcome for the workers’ compensation claim.