Rochelle, 060619 ARWC, G708734

Docket Nº:G708734
Case Date:June 06, 2019
Court:Kansas
 
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TYLISHA ROCHELLE, EMPLOYEE CLAIMANT
GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION, EMPLOYER RESPONDENT
NEW HAMPSHIRE INS. COMPANY./BROADSPIRE SERVICES, INC., CARRIER/TPA RESPONDENT
No. G708734
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
June 6, 2019
         Hearing before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (the Commission), Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mike Pickens, on March 14, 2019, in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas.           The claimant was represented by the Honorable Laura Beth York, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, P.A., Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.           The respondents were represented by the Honorable Melissa Wood, Worley, Wood & Parrish, P.A., Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.           MIKE PICKENS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE.          INTRODUCTION          An Amended Prehearing Order was filed in this claim on October 19, 2018, in which the parties agreed to the following stipulations, which they affirmed at the hearing:
1. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (the Commission) has jurisdiction over this claim.
2. The employer/employee/carrier-TPA relationship existed at all relevant times including December 5, 2017, when the claimant sustained compensable injuries to her hands, right knee, right clavicle, right shoulder, and cervical spine.
3. The claimant's average weekly wage (AWW) is $477.67, entitling her to a temporary total disability (TTD) rate of $318.00 per week, and a permanent partial disability (PPD) benefit rate of $239.00 per week.
4. The claimant was released to regular duty on March 20, 2018, and is working for the respondent-employer at this time.
(Commission Exhibit 1 at 1-2; Hearing Transcript at 5). The issues litigated at the hearing were:
1. Whether the cervical surgery Dr. Adametz has recommended is related to, and constitutes reasonably necessary medical treatment based upon, her compensable injuries.
2. The parties specifically reserve any and all other issues for future determination and/or litigation.
(Comms’n Ex. 1 at 2; Id.).          The claimant contends she sustained compensable injuries on December 5, 2017, when she fell in a ditch while working for the respondent-employer. She contends she sustained injuries to her hands, left knee, right clavicle, right shoulder, and cervical spine as a result of the fall. She contends the respondents accepted this claim as compensable and paid for medical treatment. She treated with Dr. Gati, who noted abnormalities on her cervical MRI and referred her to Dr. Adametz. Thereafter, Dr. Adametz noted the claimant had a paracentral disc protrusion at C4-5 which indents the thecal sac. Also, Dr. Adametz diagnosed the claimant with a small bulge at C6-7, and recommended she have cervical disc surgery for the C4-5-level herniation. The respondents sent the claimant to Dr. Calhoun for an independent medical examination (IME). The claimant contends Dr. Calhoun opined all the claimant’s complaints were chronic and degenerative in nature, that she had reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), and he released her to regular duty work with a zero percent (0%) impairment rating. The claimant contends she is entitled to the neck surgery Dr. Adametz recommended. She contends she is entitled to any and all additional indemnity benefits associated with the surgery. She contends the respondents should pay an award of attorney's fees pursuant to the applicable law. The claimant specifically reserves any and all other issues for future determination and/or litigation. (Comms’n Ex. 1 at 2-3).          The respondents contend they have paid all appropriate medical and indemnity benefits in this claim. They contend the medical documentation does not indicate the need for additional medical treatment is related to the acute injuries the claimant sustained in her work-related fall. The respondents contend the medical documentation does not support the claimant’s alleged entitlement to indemnity benefits. The respondents specifically reserve any and all other issues for future determination and/or litigation. (Comms’n Ex. 1 at 3).          At the hearing, both the claimant and respondents agreed the only issue to be litigated was whether the claimant is entitled to additional medical treatment in the form of the C4-5 cervical disc surgery Dr. Adametz has recommended. (Tr. at 5-6).          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          The claimant, Ms. Tylisha Rochelle-Keys, worked in the mixed-cast department for the respondent-employer, General Dynamics (General Dynamics). She was thirty-eight (38) years old at the time of her work-related accident of December 5, 2017. Her job was to assist in building warheads which weigh about thirty (30) pounds each. In December of 2018, the claimant had a hysterectomy and, as a result of this surgery, her employer transferred her to another job in the Hydra department that allowed for...

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