Palm Beach County School District and Sedgwick CMS v. Frances Smith

In Palm Beach County School District and Sedgwick CMS v. Frances Smith the Claimant sought a one-time change in physician that the E/C granted. The E/C timely appointed a new treating physician. The new authorized treating physician required a payment of $800 for Claimant’s initial evaluation and treatment which exceeded the base rate provided in the workers’ compensation fee schedule. The Claimant argued that the higher fee resulted in the provider being an IME and requested a one-time change in physician and the JCC agreed. The E/C appealed to strike the one-time change physician arguing that the JCC erred by striking the physician based on its fee agreement. The E/C argued that the workers’ compensation code provides no JCC process allowing claimants to disqualify the treating physicians because they are dissatisfied with the fee arrangements. Furthermore, the workers’ compensation code expressly allows for higher-than-fee-schedule arrangements. For these reasons, the Final Compensation Order is REVERSED.

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