By: Kristi Oakes, Esq

One of the biggest news items to come out of this year’s seminar is the recent expansion of the Petition for Medical Treatment (PMT) process to allow employers/insurers to petition the Board for a call with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) when an employee fails to attend appointments with an authorized treating physician.  

Effective September 1, 2019, employers and insurers can use the new PMT(b) form when an appointment has been scheduled with an authorized treating physician and the claimant was provided with at least five business days’ notice but failed to attend the appointment.  The Petition will result in a conference call with an ALJ in which the claimant or claimant’s attorney must “show cause” as to why the claimant failed to attend the appointment.  The ALJ can then issue an order directing the employee to attend a rescheduled appointment.  As with all PMT calls, the conference will be scheduled for a date and time not more than five business days from the date of the Petition.

If the claimant fails to attend the rescheduled appointment, or agrees to go in advance of the PMT call but does not, benefits can be suspended. 

At the conference, Chairman McKay reported that overall the PMT process has had positive effects to date resolving issues in workers’ compensation claims.  The Board’s intent is that the process will continue to evolve now that employers and insurers have an expedited method of putting pressure on claimants to be compliant with medical treatment without filing a Motion to Compel or requesting a hearing.