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Alabama Civil Court of Appeals Confirms Order Granting Injured Workers' Claim for Medication Treating Erectile Dysfunction

EX PARTE WARD INTERNATIONAL, Ala: Court of Civil Appeals 2015

In re: Wesley Shows v. Ward International

September 11, 2015

Plaintiff suffered a work-related back injury subject to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. Plaintiff settled the claim for Alabama Worker’s Compensation benefits, and left open the entitlement to medical benefits. Plaintiff requested authorization of prescription medication to treat erectile dysfunction. Plaintiff’s treating physician prescribed medication to treat erectile dysfunction in connection with the chronic pain and pain medication resulting from plaintiff’s work-related back injury. Plaintiff’s physician stated that treatment for plaintiff’s erectile dysfunction “is indicated in association with plaintiff’s work related injury.” Defendant refused to authorize the medication.

Defendant relied on Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Administrative Code, Rule 480-5-5-.15(15), and the specific language therein regarding Erectile Dysfunction Medication, pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, § 25-5-293(k). The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals instead turned to Ala. Code § 25-5-77(a) and precedent holding that “employers are responsible for the costs of reasonably necessary medical treatment of an employee resulting from injuries received in an accident arising out of and in the course of the employee’s employment.”

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals quoted Ex parte Southeast Alabama Med. Ctr., 845 So.2d 1042 (Ala.Civ.App. 2002) stating that “ The employee’s right to reasonably necessary medical treatment is not a right that derives in any manner from the provision of § 25-5-293(k) or the regulations promulgated thereunder …. [T]he employee’s rights are rights that are granted directly to the employee, in every case, by legislative enactment: § 25-5-77(a).

Thus, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals decided that Ala. Code §25-5-77(a) made defendant responsible for plaintiff’s erectile dysfunction medication, as it was found to be reasonably necessary medical treatment of conditions that are caused by plaintiff’s accident arising out of and in the course of plaintiff’s employment, “notwithstanding the blanket prohibition in Rule 480-5-5-.15(15) on treating erectile dysfunction.”

Categories: Workers' Compensation
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