32.0619 Liability for medical and hospital services, treatment and supplies.

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(a) The employer shall furnish where no other provision is made, such medical, surgical, and other attendance or treatment, nurse, hospital service, medicine, crutches, and apparatus for such period as the nature of the injury or the process of recovery may require.

(b) If the employer fails to provide the same after request by the injured employee, such injured employee may do so at the expense of the employer.

(c) The employee is not entitled to recover any amount expended by him for such treatment or services unless his employer has refused or neglected to do so, or unless the nature of the injury required such treatment or services and the employer or his superintendent or foreman, having knowledge of such injury has neglected to provide the same; nor may any claim for medical or surgical treatment be valid pad enforceable, as against an employer, unless, within 20 days following the first treatment, the physician giving such treatment furnishes to the employer and the Commissioner a report of the injury and treatment on a form prescribed by the Commission. The Commissioner may excuse the failure to furnish such report within 20 days if he finds it to be in the interest of justice to do so, and he may, upon application by a party in interest, make an award for the reasonable value of such medical or surgical treatment so obtained by the employee.

(d) If at any time the employee unreasonably refuses to submit to medical or surgical treatment, the Commissioner may, by order, suspend the payment of further compensation during such time as such refusal continues, and no compensation may be paid at any time during the period of such suspension unless the circumstances justified the refusal.

(e) Whenever in the opinion of the Commissioner a physician has not impartially estimated the degree of permanent disability or the extent of temporary disability of any injured employee, the Commissioner has the power to cause such employee to be examined by a physician selected by the Commissioner and to obtain a report containing his estimate of such disabilities. If the report of such physician shows that the estimate of the physician has not been impartial from the standpoint of such employee, the Commissioner has the power, in his discretion, to charge the cost of such examination to the carrier.

(f) All fees and other charges for treatment or service shall be limited to such charges as prevail in the same community for similar treatment of injured individuals of like standard of living, and shall be subject to regulation by the Commissioner.

(g) The liability of an employer for medical treatment may not be affected by the fact that his employee was injured through the fault or negligence of a third party not in the same employ. The employer shall, however, have a cause of action against such third party to recover any amounts paid by him for such medical treatment in like manner as provided in 32.0669.

History: 1967, PL 10-15.

Case Notes:

Workmen’s Compensation Commission has wide discretion in awarding medical and related travel expenses. A.S.C.A. § 32.0619. Continental Insurance Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 15 A.S.R.2d 130 (1990).

When a claimed conflict between two statutes is not relevant and not at issue, the court will decline comment. A.S.C.A. § 32.0619(a)(f). National Pacific Insurance Co. v. Commissioner of the American Samoa Government’s Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 22 A.S.R.2d 15 (1992).