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COA reverses worker's comp board on prescription drug denial

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a finding by the state Worker’s Compensation Board that a woman’s employer isn’t responsible for providing a specific prescription drug to her, noting that the board only focused on one possible reason why the drug is prescribed.

In Yvette Albright v. Four Winds International, No. 93A02-1010-EX-1324, Four Winds International employee Yvette Albright appealed the decision by the full Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board that affirmed her employer doesn’t have to provide prescription Cymbalta to Albright. Albright developed neck pain and numbness as a result of her work wiring recreational vehicles and was given an 18 percent permanent partial impairment of the body. Four Seasons agreed to compensate her for the injury.

Albright’s doctor prescribed Cymbalta to help control Albrights’ paresthesias, which causes skin sensations and is usually associated with injury or irritation of a nerve. Her doctor later increased the dosage and found the increase helped Albright deal with the pain caused by the condition. She later filed an application for adjustment of claim and her medical records were reviewed by Dr. David Poder. He found the prescription drug to be an appropriate treatment for her condition.

The single hearing member denied Albright’s claim, finding her doctor didn’t submit a detailed report about how much pain relief Albright had with the drug, and that Albright isn’t entitled to payment for indefinite ongoing medication for depression and anxiety.

The Court of Appeals found the full board erred in denying Albright’s claim for Cymbalta. The board made no finding that the drug isn’t properly prescribed for pain generally or to treat Albright’s neuropathic pain, wrote Judge Edward Najam. There isn’t even evidence in the record from which the board could conclude that Cymbalta is only used to treat depression.

The judges also found that Albright’s attorney and personal doctor did submit detailed reports on Albright’s condition and how much pain relief Albright had while taking Cymbalta.

“There is evidence in the record to support findings that Cymbalta was helping Albright’s psychological issues as well as her paresthesias. In light of the broadly stated issue presented to the Board in the Stipulation, the Board should have separately considered each reason for the treatment in determining whether Four Winds is responsible to provide that medication,” wrote Judge Najam.

He wrote there is also evidence that her paresthesias is related to her neck injury. Based on all the evidence, the board should have entered an award in favor of Albright. The judges remanded to the board to determine how long Four Winds should be required to provide the drug and request and consider additional evidence on that issue if necessary.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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