The medical benefits available through workers’ compensation in Minnesota are part of what makes filing a claim the right choice for those injured on the job. Instead of needing to pay a specific percentage of their medical expenses themselves or cover a multi-thousand-dollar deductible, workers can receive medical treatment without paying out of pocket for their care.
Workers’ compensation medical benefits can continue until someone fully recovers from their injury or job-acquired illness if the prognosis for their condition is positive. People don’t have to pay at all for their surgeries, medication or physical therapy. However, sometimes workers’ benefits will cease even though they still have lingering symptoms from their condition. That soft termination of medical benefits often begins with a doctor determining that a worker achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI). What exactly is does this mean.
MMI is when treatment stops helping
Every person is different, which means that treatment plans for work-acquired health issues should be tailored to someone’s needs. Medical professional often look at average treatment success rates and an individual’s response to treatment so far when determining what treatment to perform. When it is unlikely that additional treatment will result in any significant improvement in function or reduction in symptoms, doctors may then declare that the patient has achieved maximum medical improvement. MMI typically means that future treatment attempts will cease, although patients may still qualify for benefits that will cover pain management care and other treatment related to their lingering symptoms.
Achieving MMI does not always result in a worker returning to work, particularly if the worker still has persistent symptoms. They may have functional limitations that will force them to move into a different role or even seek a different job. The unfortunate truth for many workers with serious injuries or conditions related to repetitive job functions is that full remission or recovery from their symptoms is unlikely, and their health benefits may change when they achieve MMI.
Learning about the rules that apply to workers’ compensation claims in Minnesota may benefit those struggling with the symptoms of an on-the-job injury to more fully understand what to expect as their healing journey evolves.