In this case, the Oregon Workers' Compensation Board Found that a Physician Assistant could only authorize temporary total disability for a limited period of time.
Temporary total disability (also referred to as "time loss ") is a workers' compensation benefit for lost wages. In order to qualify for the benefit, a treatment provider must authorize the injured worker to be off work in writing. However, the statute that allows temporary total disability puts limits on which kind of health care providers can authorize time loss, and for how long. This depends on who can act as an "attending physician."
In this case, the Physician Assistant issued an "open-ended" authorization for temporary total disability. This means that there was no and date to the authorization that the injured worker be kept off work. However, the Board explained that a physician Assistant can only act as the attending physician for thirty days, and for that reason, would not qualified to authorize disability beyond that time limit.
This case underscores the importance of properly managing a claim early after injury. Even where a claim is eventually denied, it is important that an injured worker obtain the proper authorization for disability benefits to ensure that he or she is compensated for the time off work that an on-the-job injury causes.
If you are involved in a disputed claim, or have questions as to whether you are entitled to additional disability benefits, contact us at 503-325-8600. We can review your claims file, and if necessary, talk to the right doctor to get your disability benefits.