The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) released a statement yesterday responding to a recent district court decision declaring the 2011 Medical Treatment Guidelines unconstitutional. The statement read in part: “The LWC and Office of Workers’ Compensation is aware of a district court ruling enjoining a portion of the workers’ compensation medical review process. We’re obviously disappointed with the decision…The Louisiana Supreme Court has rejected challenges to the guidelines and approved the process. We are consulting with counsel to identify options for sustaining reforms that have been a big win for injured workers and for the employers who pay for the system. In the meantime, our customers will experience no change in service pending a written judgment clarifying the scope of the court’s decision.”
According to a WorkCompCentral report, Judge Donald R. Johnson of the 19th Judicial District (East Baton Rouge) issued a two-page document, pending his full written decision to the same effect, indicating that he was granting injunctive relief to some of the plaintiffs (he dismissed the doctors and the attorneys named as plaintiffs in the suit for lacking cause of action) and declaring the medical review process unconstitutional. Judge Johnson cites the “tacit” denials of the Medical Director and the related process regarding “variances from the Medical Treatment Schedule” as unconstitutional, saying that it violates due process rights for workers.