12-0039. BOUNPENG SENGMANYPHET, Employee, Applicant, v. NORTH PACIFIC SEAFOODS, INC., Employer, and SEABRIGHT INSURANCE CO., Insurer, Defendants.

Court:Alaska
 
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Alaska Workers Compensation Decisions 2012. Workers' Compensation Board 12-0039. BOUNPENG SENGMANYPHET, Employee, Applicant, v. NORTH PACIFIC SEAFOODS, INC., Employer, and SEABRIGHT INSURANCE CO., Insurer, Defendants BOUNPENG SENGMANYPHET, Employee, Applicant, v. NORTH PACIFIC SEAFOODS, INC., Employer, and SEABRIGHT INSURANCE CO., Insurer, Defendants.AWCB Decision No. 12-0039 Filed with AWCB Anchorage, Alaskaon February 29, 2012AWCB Case No. 200907219FINAL DECISION AND ORDERBounpeng Sengmanyphet's (Employee) March 14, 2011, October 2, 2011, and December 13, 2011 workers' compensation claims, and his August 10, 2011 petition for a second independent medical evaluation (SIME) were heard on February 1, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska. Employee appeared by telephone, represented himself and testified. Attorney Richard Wagg represented North Pacific Seafood (Employer), and its workers' compensation insurer. The record closed at the hearing's conclusion on February 1, 2012. ISSUES Employee contends he is entitled to an SIME because he disputes the current PPI ratings and is entitled to a PPI rating from a physician of his choosing. Employer contends there is no basis for an SIME, as there is no medical dispute between Employee's attending physician and Employer's medical evaluator (EME), and Employee is not entitled to another PPI rating simply because he is dissatisfied with the rating he already received from his own physician. 1) Is Employee entitled to an SIME or other medical evaluation for his left eye injury? Employee contends he is entitled to permanent partial impairment (PPI) for his left eye injury. Employer contends Employee is not entitled to any PPI for his left eye, as all the medical evidence, including Employee's attending physician's opinion, states there is no ratable PPI to Employee's left eye. 2) Is Employee entitled to PPI for his left eye injury? Employee contends he is entitled to additional medical treatment for his left eye. Employer contends there is no medical evidence Employee needs any further treatment for his left eye injury. 3) Is Employee entitled to any additional medical care for his left eye injury? Lastly, Employee contends he is entitled to interest on his ultimate PPI award. Employer contends Employee is not entitled to interest because he is not entitled to PPI. 4) Is Employee entitled to interest on PPI? FINDINGS OF FACT A review of the entire record establishes the following relevant facts and factual conclusions by a preponderance of the evidence: 1) On May 24, 2009, Employee was handling fish when fish scale went into his left eye (Employee; Report of Occupational Injury or Illness, May 25, 2009). 2) On March 14, 2011, Employee filed a claim for PPI, and medical costs for his left eye (claim, March 14, 2011). 3) On June 20, 2011, Richard Bensinger, M.D., performed an EME on Employee. Dr. Bensinger concluded Employee had 20/20 vision in both eyes, clear corneas, "quiet interior chambers," reactive irises, normal fundi, and lenses free of cataract. Dr. Bensinger diagnosed an acute left eye injury substantially caused by the May 24, 2009 incident, which had resolved without residuals. He recommended no further treatment, found Employee medically stable, and opined he had no visual dysfunction or problems, resulting in a 0% PPI rating under the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition (Guides) (Bensinger report, June 20, 2011). 4) On August 2, 2011, the parties appeared at a prehearing conference. The board's designee advised Employee if his treating physician felt Employee still needed care or needed to refer him to a specialist, Employer would consider sending Employee to such a physician (Prehearing Conference Summary, August 2, 2011). 5) On August 8, 2011, Matthew Guess, M.D., completed a physician's report on Employee's behalf. Dr. Guess opined Employee was medically stable as of 2009, was released to regular work, did not have a permanent impairment, diagnosed Employee with dry eye syndrome and recommended use of artificial tears (Physicians Report, August 8, 2011). 6) On August 8, 2011, Dr. Guess also completed a chart note for Employee. He diagnosed dry eye syndrome in both eyes and recommended over-the-counter reading glasses. Dr. Guess did not attribute the need for reading glasses or the dry eye syndrome to Employee's work-related injury (Dr. Guess chart note, August 8, 2011). 7) On October 5, 2011, the parties appeared at a prehearing conference. The board's designee again explained Employee's need to obtain an opinion from his attending physician stating Employee needed additional medical care. The designee also explained to Employee if there were no medical disputes between his attending physician and the EME, Employer would not agree to an SIME. The designee...

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