Maximum medical improvement refers to the point where a patient will not likely heal any further from an injury, either physically or emotionally. This term is often used when determining workers’ compensation, or the money that an employer owes an employee after the employee sustains an on-the-job injury. Because there are finances involved, determining when a patient reaches maximum medical improvement can be tricky.
In Minnesota, who is the one to make the call when an injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement?
Health care providers
Health care providers such as a physician make the initial determination of when an injured worker reaches the point where they are unlikely to make further health improvements. Health care providers determine this based on several things, including:
- Information related to treatment options
- Signs of any recent improvement or recovery
- Whether further treatment will be more for healing or for pain reduction and lifestyle maintenance
Physicians and other medical professionals should make an unbiased evaluation of the patient, and injured employees can choose their own doctors for evaluation.
While health care providers make the initial assessment regarding maximum medical improvement, a judge will make the call if someone disputes the claim. The judge will look at the employee’s medical records as well as testimony from the employee. Furthermore, insurers sometimes solicit their own medical examiners to make a statement on the patient, which a judge will consider.
The more you know about the workers’ compensation process, the less stressed you will be if you happen to get injured on the job.