Home > Uncategorized > On MPN Access Standards (Part 1 of 3)

On MPN Access Standards (Part 1 of 3)

Happy Monday, dear readers!  I know you visit this blog to hear the occasional joke or brush up on the latest crackpot ideas coming out of the humble-blogger-kitchen.  Instead, today, I’d like to relate to you a phone call I received just last Friday afternoon.

The week’s work was done: benefits were soundly denied; files were tightly closed; and your humble blogger was looking forward to heading home for the weekend… then, the phone rang.  Naively expecting good news, I picked up the ringer, only to hear the voice of a dear friend and law school classmate who had recently started practicing workers’ comp.

Now, my dear friend, Alex, had ignored my prior advice, which urged him not to start practicing in comp – but now he sought advice again.

His client had invested heavily in developing an impregnable MPN, only to have some upstart applicant’s attorney challenge it (why, I never!).

Initially, the applicant’s attorney had claimed the MPN was defective because there were no pain medicine physicians close to applicant’s home.  Alex had countered with the fact that California Code of Regulations section 9767.5 allows an MPN to provide physicians near the employee’s residence OR workplace, so if the employer has doctors near the ol’ jobsite, all is well with the world.  Score one point for Alex!

Not to be discouraged, the applicant attorney came back with “but you don’t have 3 pain doctors within 15 miles of the worksite.  So I get to send my client to Dr. Quacky McQuackerton, outside of your MPN.”

Now, please bear in mind, dear readers, at this point, I watched the last car leave the parking lot from my window and I could practically taste Oban on my lips as I longed for home.  But, the bond of friendship, and, more importantly, the fraternal links that join all defense attorneys together into a phalanx of iron-colored suits, gave me strength and patience.  So, the facts kept rolling in…

The MPN in question was a pretty good one – there were quality treating physicians ready to help injured workers, and the MPN offered a pretty broad array of disciplines and specialties.  However, in this particular case, the injured worker’s workplace was less than 15 miles from two pain management physicians, but pain doc number 3 was 22 miles away, and so my panicked friend recited section 9767.5(a)(1) – three available primary treating physicians within 15 miles of workplace or residence.

An expedited hearing was coming up, and his client wanted him to defend the MPN.  Now, Alex was asking me for a defense – what’s to be done?  Cry havoc, and let slip the lawyers of litigation!

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