WORKER’S COMPENSATION AND RELATED LAWS — INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
72-432. Medical services, appliances and supplies — Reports. (1) Subject to the provisions of section 72-706, Idaho Code, the employer shall provide for an injured employee such reasonable medical, surgical or other attendance or treatment, nurse and hospital services, medicines, crutches and apparatus, as may be reasonably required by the employee’s physician or needed immediately after an injury or manifestation of an occupational disease, and for a reasonable time thereafter. If the employer fails to provide the same, the injured employee may do so at the expense of the employer.
(2) The employer shall also furnish necessary replacements or repairs of appliances and prostheses, unless the need therefor is due to lack of proper care by the employee. If the appliance or prosthesis is damaged or destroyed in an industrial accident, the employer, for whom the employee was working at the time of accident, will be liable for replacement or repair, but not for any subsequent replacement or repair not directly resulting from the accident.
(3) In addition to the income benefits otherwise payable, the employee who is entitled to income benefits shall be paid an additional sum in an amount as may be determined by the commission as by it deemed necessary, as a medical service, when the constant service of an attendant is necessary by reason of total blindness of the employee or the loss of both hands or both feet or the loss of use thereof, or by reason of being paralyzed and unable to walk, or by reason of other disability resulting from the injury or disease actually rendering him so helpless as to require constant attendance. The commission shall have authority to determine the necessity, character and sufficiency of any medical services furnished or to be furnished and shall have authority to order a change of physician, hospital or rehabilitation facility when in its judgment such change is desirable or necessary.
(4) (a) The employee upon reasonable grounds, may petition the commission for a change of physician to be provided by the employer; however, the employee must give written notice to the employer or surety of the employee’s request for a change of physicians to afford the employer the opportunity to fulfill its obligations under this section. If proper notice is not given, the employer shall not be obligated to pay for the services obtained. Nothing in this section shall limit the attending physician from arranging for consultation, referral or specialized care without permission of the employer. Upon receiving such written notice, the employer shall render its written decision on the claimant’s request within fourteen (14) days. If any dispute arises over the issue of a request for change of physician, the industrial commission shall conduct an expedited hearing to determine whether or not the request for change of physician should be granted, and shall render a decision within fourteen (14) days after the filing of the response by the employer.
(b) The industrial commission shall, no later than December 31, 1997, promulgate a rule for the expeditious handling of a petition for change of physician pursuant to this section. Nothing herein shall prevent the commission from making periodic amendments, as may become necessary, to any rule for a petition for change of physician.
(5) Any employee who seeks medical care in a manner not provided for in this section, or as ordered by the industrial commission pursuant to this section, shall not be entitled to reimbursement for costs of such care.
(6) No provider shall engage in balance billing as defined in section 72-102, Idaho Code.
(7) An employee shall not be responsible for charges of physicians, hospitals or other providers of medical services to whom he has been referred for treatment of his injury or occupational disease by an employer designated physician or by the commission, except for charges for personal items or extended services which the employee has requested for his convenience and which are not required for treatment of his injury or occupational disease.
(8) The employer or surety shall not be subject to tort liability to any health care provider for complying with the provisions of this law.
(9) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a workman who in good faith relies on Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner to undergo any medical or surgical treatment, providing that neither he nor his dependents shall be entitled to income benefits of any kind beyond those reasonably expected to have been paid had he undergone medical or surgical treatment, and the employer or insurance carrier may pay for such spiritual treatment.
(10) The commission shall promulgate rules requiring physicians and other practitioners providing treatment to make regular reports to the commission containing such information as may be required by the commission. The commission shall promulgate such rules with the counsel, advice, cooperation and expertise of representatives of industry, labor, sureties and the legal and medical professions as well as institutions, hospitals and clinics having physical rehabilitation facilities.
(11) All medical information relevant to or bearing upon a particular injury or occupational disease shall be provided to the employer, surety, manager of the industrial special indemnity fund, or their attorneys or authorized representatives, the claimant, the claimant’s attorneys or authorized representatives, or the commission without liability on the part of the physician, hospital or other provider of medical services and information developed in connection with treatment or examination for an injury or disease for which compensation is sought shall not be privileged communication. When a physician or hospital willfully fails to make a report required under this section, after written notice by the commission that such report is due, the commission may order forfeiture of all or part of payments due for services rendered in connection with the particular case. An attorney representing the employer, surety, claimant or industrial special indemnity fund shall have the right to confer with any health care provider without the presence of the opposing attorney, representative or party, except for a health care provider who is retained only as an expert witness.
(12) Physicians or others providing services under this section shall assist in the rehabilitation program provided in section 72-501A, Idaho Code. They shall cooperate with specialists from the commission’s rehabilitation staff and with employer rehabilitation personnel in furthering the physical or vocational rehabilitation of the employee. The extension of total temporary disability benefits during retraining as authorized by section 72-450, Idaho Code, shall be the responsibility of the commission, however, the physician shall inform the commission as soon as it is medically apparent that the employee may be unable to return to the job in which he sustained injury or occupational disease following treatment and maximum recovery.
(13) An injured employee shall be reimbursed for his expenses of necessary travel in obtaining medical care under this section. Reimbursement for transportation expenses, if the employee utilizes a private vehicle, shall be at the mileage rate allowed by the state board of examiners for state employees; provided however, that the employee shall not be reimbursed for the first fifteen (15) miles of any round trip, nor for traveling any round trip of fifteen (15) miles or less. Such distance shall be calculated by the shortest practical route of travel.
(14) An employee who leaves the locality where employed at the time of the industrial accident, or manifestation of an occupational disease, or the locality in which the employee is currently receiving medical treatment for the injury, shall give timely notice to the employer and surety of the employee’s leaving the locality. The employer or surety may require the claimant to report to the treating physician for examination prior to leaving the locality, if practical. If an examination by the treating physician is not practical prior to leaving the locality, the employer or surety may assist in arranging an examination by an appropriate physician in the new locality. After receiving notice of relocation, the employer or surety shall have the same responsibility to furnish care as set forth in subsection (1) of this section.
[72-432, as added by 1971, ch. 124, sec. 3, p. 422; am. 1971, ch. 297, sec. 1, p. 1113; am. 1974, ch. 132, sec. 4, p. 1329; am. 1978, ch. 264, sec. 12, p. 583; am. 1997, ch. 274, sec. 9, p. 808; am. 2005, ch. 161, sec. 1, p. 493; am. 2006, ch. 206, sec. 2, p. 631.]