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Maximum medical improvement and return to work

When a worker sustains an injury in his or her Pennsylvania workplace, he or she may be unable to work. He or she may also require extensive medical care and rehabilitation, which can be expensive. Fortunately, the law requires Pennsylvania employers to compensate injured parties via workers' compensation, a no-fault program. Unless the injured party was doing something excessively risky and outside the scope of his or her work duties, the employer nor the insurer can deny the workers' claim. The worker should continue to receive benefits until he or she reaches the point of maximum medical improvement and is able to return to work.

According to the Los Angeles Community College District, the point of maximum medical improvement is the point at which one's medical condition has reached a treatment plateau. It is at this point which the assigned doctor determines a condition will not worsen or change. If a person has work restrictions because of his or her injury or disability, the medical provider does not anticipate those work restrictions to disappear. If an injury renders a person disabled and the doctor claims MMI, it means he or she does not believe the patient will regain full function.

Also according to the LACCD, once a doctor declares MMI, risk management has 30 days from the date of the declaration to determine if the employer has modified or alternative work for the injured party to perform. If the employer cannot provide the worker with modified or alternative work, the company must refer the injured party to a vocational rehabilitation counselor for rehabilitation services. The employer must pay for the services.


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