SCOTTSVILLE MANOR APPELLANT v. LORETTA BINION DR KENNETH BARTHOLOMEW HON WILLIAM RUDLOFF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD APPELLEES (2013)
Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
SCOTTSVILLE MANOR APPELLANT v. LORETTA BINION; DR. KENNETH BARTHOLOMEW; HON. WILLIAM J. RUDLOFF, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE; and WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD APPELLEES
Decided: July 12, 2013
BEFORE: CLAYTON, KELLER,1 AND THOMPSON, JUDGES.
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Samuel J. Bach Henderson, Kentucky NO BRIEF FILED FOR APPELLEE
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Appellant, Scottsville Manor, appeals from a decision of the Workers' Compensation Board finding that certain medical treatment was reasonable and necessary. Scottsville Manor argues that the medical evidence was uncontroverted and compelled a result in its favor. We affirm.
Loretta Binion worked as a nurse's assistant at Scottsville Manor. She was injured when her left arm was caught and crushed under an overturned medicine cart. Binion had a stimulator placed in her spine and underwent two revisions. She also was prescribed fentanyl patches for pain management. On August 19, 2008, Binion settled her claim with Scottsville Manor for $13,000. On June 28, 2011, Scottsville Manor filed a motion to reopen the case and argued that the third stimulator revision, a cervical MRI, and the fentanyl patches were not reasonable, necessary, and work-related. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the treatments were reasonable and necessary. On appeal to the Workers' Compensation Board, the Board affirmed the ALJ on the issue of reasonableness and necessity, vacated on the issue of work-relatedness, and remanded for additional findings. This appeal followed.
Scottsville Manor argues that the ALJ erred by ignoring uncontroverted medical evidence regarding the reasonableness and necessity of the third stimulator revision, cervical MRI, and fentanyl patches. We disagree.
The employer has the burden of proof when challenging the reasonableness and necessity of medical treatment in a post-award fee dispute. Mitee Enterprises v. Yates, 865 S.W.2d 654 (Ky.1993). The ALJ, as fact-finder, has the sole authority to judge the weight, credibility, substance, and inferences to be drawn from the evidence. A.K. Steel Corp. v. Adkins, 253 S.W.3d 59, 64 (Ky.2008). The ALJ may reject uncontroverted medical evidence if a sufficient explanation is provided for the rejection. Collins v. Castleton Farms, 560 S.W.2d 830, 831 (Ky.App.1977). Because Scottsville Manor was unsuccessful before the ALJ, the issue on appeal is whether the evidence compelled a result in its favor. Wolf Creek Collieries v. Crum, 673 S.W.2d 735, 736 (Ky.App.1984).
Dr. Dennis O'Keefe found that there was no indication for a third stimulator revision, that changes to the cervical spine were not work-related, and that the use of fentanyl patches was not appropriate. However, the records of Dr. Kenneth E. Bartholomew, Binion's treating physician, demonstrated his recommendations of a third stimulator revision, an MRI of the cervical spine, and the use of fentanyl patches for pain management. The ALJ also stated that he found Binion to be a credible witness. Binion testified that the stimulator revision and MRI were recommended by her doctors. She also testified to the extent of her pain and that fentanyl patches were prescribed to her. We conclude that the rejection of Dr. O'Keefe's conclusions was within the discretion of the ALJ and that substantial evidence supports the finding that the treatment was reasonable and necessary.
Accordingly, the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board is affirmed.
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