Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Orange bar
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Powered by google

Workers' compensation -- Treatment parameters



5221.6600 Chronic management

Subpart 1. Scope. This part applies to chronic management of all types of physical injuries, even if the injury is not specifically governed by parts 5221.6200 to 5221.6500. If a patient continues with symptoms and physical findings after all appropriate initial nonsurgical and surgical treatment has been rendered, and if the patient's condition prevents the resumption of the regular activities of daily life including regular vocational activities, then the patient may be a candidate for chronic management. The purpose of chronic management is twofold:  the patient should be made independent of health care providers in the ongoing care of a chronic condition; and the patient should be returned to the highest functional status reasonably possible.

A. Personality or psychological evaluation may be indicated for patients who are candidates for chronic management. The treating health care provider may perform this evaluation or may refer the patient for consultation with another health care provider in order to obtain a psychological evaluation. These evaluations may be used to assess the patient for a number of psychological conditions which may interfere with recovery from the injury. Since more than one of these psychological conditions may be present in a given case, the health care provider performing the evaluation must consider all of the following:

(1) Is symptom magnification occurring?

(2) Does the patient exhibit an emotional reaction to the injury, such as depression, fear, or anger, which is interfering with recovery?

(3) Are there other personality factors or disorders which are interfering with recovery?

(4) Is the patient chemically dependent?

(5) Are there any interpersonal conflicts interfering with recovery?

(6) Does the patient have a chronic pain syndrome or psychogenic pain?

(7) In cases in which surgery is a possible treatment, are psychological factors likely to interfere with the potential benefit of the surgery?

B. Any of the chronic management modalities of subpart 2 may be used singly or in combination as part of a program of chronic management.

C. No further passive treatment modalities or therapeutic injections are indicated, except as otherwise provided in parts 5221.6200, subpart 3, item B; 5221.6205, subpart 3, item B; 5221.6210, subpart 3, item B; and 5221.6300, subpart 3, item B.

D. No further diagnostic evaluation is indicated unless there is the development of symptoms or physical findings which would in themselves warrant diagnostic evaluation.

E. A program of chronic management must include appropriate means by which use of scheduled medications can be discontinued or severely limited.

Subp. 2. Chronic management modalities. The health care provider must provide prior notification of the chronic management modalities in items B to F according to part 5221.6050, subpart 9. Prior notification is not required for home-based exercises in item A, unless durable medical equipment is prescribed for home use. The insurer may not deny payment for a program of chronic management that the insurer has previously authorized for an employee, either in writing or by routine payment for services, without providing the employee and the employee's health care provider with at least 30 days' notice of intent to apply any of the chronic management parameters in part 5221.6600 to future treatment. The notice must include the specific parameters that will be applied in future determinations of compensability by the insurer.

A. Home-based exercise programs consist of aerobic conditioning, stretching and flexibility exercises, and strengthening exercises done by the patient on a regular basis at home without the need for supervision or attendance by a health care provider. Maximum effectiveness may require the use of certain durable medical equipment that may be prescribed and reimbursed within any applicable treatment parameters in parts 5221.6200 to 5221.6305.

(1) Indications:  exercise is necessary on a long-term basis to maintain function.

(2) Requirements:  the patient should receive specific instruction and training in the exercise program. Repetitions, durations, and frequencies of exercises must be specified. Any durable medical equipment needed must be prescribed in advance and the insurer must be given prior notification of proposed purchase.

(3) Treatment period, one to three visits for instruction and monitoring.

B. Health clubs:

(1) Indications:  the patient is deconditioned and requires a structured environment to perform prescribed exercises. The health care provider must document the reasons why reconditioning cannot be accomplished with a home-based program of exercise.

(2) Requirements:  the program must have specific prescribed exercises stated in objective terms, for example "30 minutes riding stationary bicycle three times per week." There must be a specific set of prescribed activities and a specific timetable of progression in those activities, designed so that the goals can be achieved in the prescribed time. There must be a prescribed frequency of attendance and the patient must maintain adequate documentation of attendance. There must be a prescribed duration of attendance.

(3) Treatment period, 13 weeks. Additional periods of treatment require additional prior notification of the insurer. Additional periods of treatment at a health club are not indicated unless there is documentation of attendance and progression in activities during the preceding period of treatment. If the employer has an appropriate exercise facility on its premises the insurer may mandate use of that facility instead of providing a health club membership.

C. Computerized exercise programs utilize computer controlled exercise equipment that allows for the isolation of specific muscle groups and the performance of graded exercise designed to increase strength, tone, flexibility, and range of motion. In combination with computerized range of motion or strength measuring tests, these programs allow for quantitative measurement of effort and progress.

(1) Indications:  the patient is deconditioned and requires a structured environment to accomplish rehabilitation goals. The health care provider must document the reasons why reconditioning cannot be accomplished with a home-based program of exercise.

(2) Requirements:  the program must have specific goals stated in objective terms, for example "improve strength of back extensors 50 percent." There must be a specific set of prescribed activities and a specific timetable of progression in those activities, designed so that the goals can be achieved in the prescribed time. There must be a prescribed frequency and duration of attendance.

(3) Treatment period, six weeks. Additional periods of treatment require additional prior notification of the insurer. Additional periods of treatment are not indicated unless there is documentation of attendance and progression in activities during the preceding period of treatment.

D. Work conditioning and work hardening programs are intensive, highly structured, job oriented, individualized treatment plans based on an assessment of the patient's work setting or job demands, and designed to maximize the patient's return to work. These programs must include real or simulated work activities. Work conditioning is designed to restore an individual's neuromusculoskeletal strength, endurance, movement, flexibility, and motor control, and cardiopulmonary function. Work conditioning uses physical conditioning and functional activities related to the individual's work. Services may be provided by one discipline of health care provider. Work hardening is designed to restore an individual's physical, behavioral, and vocational functions within an interdisciplinary model. Work hardening addresses the issues of productivity, safety, physical tolerances, and work behaviors. An interdisciplinary team includes professionals qualified to evaluate and treat behavioral, vocational, physical, and functional needs of the individual.

(1) Indications:  the patient is disabled from usual work and requires reconditioning for specific job tasks or activities and the reconditioning cannot be done on the job. The health care provider must document the reasons why work hardening cannot be accomplished through a structured return to work program. Work conditioning is indicated where only physical and functional needs are identified. Work hardening is indicated where, in addition to physical and functional needs, behavioral and vocational needs are also identified that are not otherwise being addressed.

(2) Requirements:  the program must have specific goals stated in terms of work activities, for example "able to type for 30 minutes." There must be an individualized program of activities and the activities must be chosen to simulate required work activities or to enable the patient to participate in simulated work activities. There must be a specific timetable of progression in those activities, designed so that the goals can be achieved in the prescribed time. There must be a set frequency and hours of attendance and the program must maintain adequate documentation of attendance. There must be a set duration of attendance. Activity restrictions must be identified at completion of the program.

(3) Treatment period, six weeks. Additional periods of treatment require prior notification of the insurer. Additional periods of treatment at a work hardening program or work conditioning program are not indicated unless there is documentation of attendance and progression in activities during the preceding period of treatment or unless there has been a change in the patient's targeted return to work job which necessitates a redesign of the program.

E. Chronic pain management programs consist of multidisciplinary teams who provide coordinated, goal-oriented services to reduce pain disability, improve functional status, promote return to work, and decrease dependence on the health system of persons with chronic pain syndrome. Pain management programs must provide physical rehabilitation, education on pain, relaxation training, psychosocial counseling, medical evaluation, and, if indicated, chemical dependency evaluation. The program of treatment must be individualized and based on an organized evaluative process for screening and selecting patients. Treatment may be provided in an inpatient setting, outpatient setting, or both as appropriate.

(1) Indications:  the patient is diagnosed as having a chronic pain syndrome.

(2) Requirements:  an admission evaluation must be performed by a doctor, and a licensed mental health professional, each with at least two years experience in evaluation of chronic pain patients and chronic pain treatment, or one year of formal training in a pain fellowship program. The evaluation must confirm the diagnosis of chronic pain syndrome and a willingness and ability of the patient to benefit from a pain management program. There must be a specific set of prescribed activities and treatments, and a specific timetable of progression in those activities. There must be a set frequency and hours of attendance and the program must maintain adequate documentation of attendance. There must be a set duration of attendance.

(3) Treatment period:  for initial treatment, a maximum of 20 eight-hour days, though fewer or shorter days can be used, and a maximum duration of four weeks no matter how many or how long the days prescribed. For aftercare, a maximum of 12 sessions is allowed. Only one completed pain management program is indicated for an injury.

F. Individual or group psychological or psychiatric counseling.

(1) Indications:  a personality or psychosocial evaluation has revealed one or more of the problems listed in subpart 1, item A, which interfere with recovery from the physical injury, but the patient does not need or is not a candidate for a pain management program.

(2) Requirements:  there must be a specific set of goals based on the initial personality or psychosocial evaluation and a timetable for achieving those goals within the prescribed number of treatment or therapy sessions. There must be a prescribed frequency of attendance and the treating health care provider must maintain adequate documentation of attendance. There must be a prescribed duration of treatment.

(3) Treatment period:  a maximum of 12 sessions. Only one completed program of individual or group psychological or psychiatric counseling is indicated for an injury.

Related case law:

Statutory Authority:  MS s 176.103; 176.83

History:  19 SR 1412

Posted:  October 12, 2007

DLI home page | Directions and maps | News and media | Website disclaimer