Case Law Update: Can An Injured Worker Be Compensated For Ayurvedic Medical Treatment When Not Prescribed By A Licensed Pennsylvania Health Care Practitioner?

No. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in a recent Opinion, (Babu v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board) has ruled that an injured worker- even though a nurse herself, cannot be reimbursed for Ayurvedic treatment she underwent in India because it was not done vis-a-vis a referral or under the supervision of a licensed Pennsylvania health care practitioner.

The Court rejected the Claimant’s allegation that she herself was a supervising Pennsylvania health care practitioner. The Court noted that there was no evidence that Claimant was trained in massage therapy or that she exercised supervisory control over the practitioners in India.

This is a bad case for injured workers in Pennsylvania. The seminal issues should be whether the treatment is “reasonable, necessary, and related” to the accepted work injury. Claimant, to her credit, was trying an alternative form of medicine to get some relief from her work-related symptoms. What happens when a claimant goes out of state because a spouse changed jobs? Can the claimant now not get medical treatment if the provider isn’t licensed in Pennsylvania? That’s never been enforced before as far as I recall- as long as the provider bills the treatment on the prescribed forms in Pennsylvania, the treatment gets paid. Health practitioners like nurses, should be given some slack with supervising, to an extent, their own condition.

Let’s hope this Decision gets appealed and that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court takes the case.

For more information about Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, call experienced and Certified Attorney Michael Cardamone of The Cardamone Law Firm, LLC 7 days a week at (215) 206-9068 or email Michael@CardamoneLaw.com

The Cardamone Law Firm, LLC

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