Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed an executive order that addresses changes relevant to medical treatment and IME’s for workers’ compensation matters, in relation to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19. As you know, Governor Ducey has implemented a “stay at home” order in our state, which applies until April 30, 2020. So long as the stay-at-home order is in place, there are two important points that our firm wants our clients to be aware of:
1) Telemedicine is recognized as a valid means for procuring medical treatment and shall be covered by workers’ compensation carriers and self-insured employers as though the visits are in-person evaluations with a healthcare provider; and
2) Workers’ compensation carriers and self-insured employers shall not require an injured worker to submit to an in-person independent medical examination and shall not suspend the injured worker’s benefits if he/she refuses to submit to an in-person medical examination.
Notably, many healthcare providers and independent medical examiners are amenable to conducting telemedicine visits in lieu of in-person examinations. We encourage you to coordinate with the providers, injured workers/their attorneys, and/or IME companies to arrange for telemedicine visits where available and appropriate. Alternatively, we encourage you to consider rescheduling in-person examinations to a later date if the stay-at-home order remains in place.
Our attorneys and staff are assisting with making alternative arrangements for IME’s that have already been scheduled through mid-May and would be happy to provide assistance or guidance to you if you have any questions about the foregoing.
For your reference, here is a link Governor Ducey’s April 14, 2020 Executive Order, as it contains additional provisions that may be applicable to your claims.