12-0036. GRETA H. KIRKEVOLD, Employee, Applicant v. TOTEM OCEAN TRAILER EXPRESS, INC., Employer, and ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY; EAGLE PACIFIC INSURANCE COMPANY, Insurers, Defendants.

Court:Alaska
 
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Alaska Workers Compensation Decisions 2012. Workers' Compensation Board 12-0036. GRETA H. KIRKEVOLD, Employee, Applicant v. TOTEM OCEAN TRAILER EXPRESS, INC., Employer, and ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY; EAGLE PACIFIC INSURANCE COMPANY, Insurers, Defendants GRETA H. KIRKEVOLD, Employee, Applicant v. TOTEM OCEAN TRAILER EXPRESS, INC., Employer, and ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY; EAGLE PACIFIC INSURANCE COMPANY, Insurers, Defendants.AWCB Decision No. 12-0036Filed with AWCB Anchorage, Alaskaon February 28, 2012AWCB Case Nos. 201018105, 199810755INTERLOCUTORY DECISION AND ORDERGreta Kirkevold's petition for a second independent medical evaluation (SIME) was heard on the written record on November 23, 2011. Ms. Kirkevold represented herself. Attorney Elise Rose represented Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (Totem) and its insurer Eagle Pacific Insurance Company (collectively Totem/Eagle). Attorney Jeffrey Holloway represented Totem and its insurer Arch Insurance Company (collectively Totem/Arch). The record closed on November 23, 2011. ISSUE Ms. Kirkevold contends the board should order an SIME under AS23.30.095. Totem/Arch contends that any medical dispute that may exist is not significant enough to warrant an SIME. Totem/Eagle does not oppose an SIME if it would be of assistance to the board. Shall an SIME be ordered? FINDINGS OF FACT The following facts are based on the evidence in the record as of November 23, 2012 and are limited to those facts necessary to resolve the limited issue presented. The following facts and factual conclusions are established by a preponderance of the evidence: 1) On May 15, 1998, Ms. Kirkevold saw Dr. Tim Kanady for treatment for an injury that occurred while working for Totem. Ms. Kirkevold continued to work despite the injury. (Chart Note May 15, 10998; Physician Report, June 16, 1998). 2) On June 8, 1998, Ms. Kirkevold completed a report of injury. The report does not include a date for the injury, but states that while working for Totem as a receptionist, Ms. Kirkevold suffered a loss of spine curvature brought on by improper sitting for prolonged periods. At the time, Totem was insured by Eagle Pacific Insurance. (Report of Occupational Injury of Illness, 6/18/1998). 3) Dr. Kanady diagnosed Ms. Kirkevold with a vertical subluxation and complete loss of the cervical lordotic curve. (Physician Report, June 16, 1998). 4) On May 4, 1999, Dr. Kanady released Ms. Kirkevold from further treatment for the injury. (Physician Report, 5/4/1999). 5) On November 29, 2010, while working at a computer for Totem, Ms. Kirkevold experienced a tingling sensation across her upper back which turned into numbness in her hands and left foot and toes and a sore neck. At the time, Totem was insured by Arch Insurance Company. (Report of Occupational Injury or Illness, November 30, 2010). 6) Ms. Kirkevold again sought treatment with Dr. Kanady, and on a patient information form she explained she believed she suffered a cumulative injury from long hours working at a non-ergonomic workstation. (Patient Information Form, December 6, 2010). 7) Dr. Kanady referred Ms. Kirkevold for an MRI of her neck. On December 22, 2010, Dr. John McCormick reported the MRI revealed severe multilevel bilateral foraminal stenosis, slight retrolisthesis of the vertebral bodies from C4 through C7, and a reversal of the cervical lordosis, consistent with muscular spasm. (Alaska Spine Institute Report, December 22, 2010). 8) On January 22, 2011, Ms. Kirkevold was seen by Drs. Keith Holley and Eugene Wong for an employer's independent medical evaluation (EIME) at the request of Totem/Arch. The doctors diagnosed preexisting mild cervical spondylosis and degenerative disk disease and a "[c]ervical/trapezial strain related to ergonomic and work activities" of November 29, 2010. The doctors stated the degenerative changes were normal age-related changes. The November 29, 2010 injury was the substantial cause of the cervical/trapezial strain and the need for treatment. Ms. Kirkevold was found to be medically stable with no permanent impairment, and no further curative treatment was recommended. (EIME Report, 1/22/2011). 9) On referral from Dr. Kanady, Dr. Mark Flanum evaluated Ms. Kirkevold on January 19, 2011. Dr. Flanum stated that Ms. Kirkevold had advanced degenerative changes between C4 and C7 with neural foraminal stenosis bilaterally. He also noted the loss of lordosis. Dr. Flanum opined that there was no need for surgical intervention at the time, but Ms. Kirkevold should continue to have chiropractic care and an ergonomic consult for her workstation. (Flanum Letter, January 19, 2011. 10) On March 7, 2011, Ms. Kirkevold filed a Workers' Compensation Claim (WCC) seeking outstanding and ongoing medical costs, medical related transportation costs, an ergonomic assessment of her workstation, penalty, and interest. 11) On March 22, 2011, Ms. Kirkevold filed a petition seeking to join her 1998 injury to her 2010 case. (Petition...

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