Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Workers' Compensation Division
Suspension of Compensation for Insanitary or Injurious Practices, Refusal of Treatment or Failure to Participate in Rehabilitation; Reduction of Benefits
(1) General. The director may suspend compensation by order when the worker commits insanitary or injurious acts that imperil or delay recovery; refuses to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably required to promote recovery; or fails or refuses to participate in a physical rehabilitation program.(a) The worker must have the opportunity to dispute the suspension of compensation before the director will issue an order.(b) The worker is not entitled to compensation during or for the period of suspension.(2) Notice to worker. The insurer must demand in writing the worker either immediately cease all actions which imperil or delay recovery or immediately begin to change the inappropriate behavior, and participate in activities needed to help the worker recover from the injury. Each time the insurer sends such a notice to the worker, the written demand must contain the following information, and a copy must be sent simultaneously to the worker’s attorney and attending physician:(a) A description of the unacceptable actions;(b) Why such conduct is inappropriate, including the fact that the conduct is harmful or delays the worker’s recovery, as appropriate;(c) The date by which the inappropriate actions must stop, or the date by which compliance is expected, including what the worker must specifically do to comply; and,(d) The following notice of the consequences should the worker fail to correct the problem, in prominent or bold face type:(3) Failure or refusal to accept medical treatment. For the purposes of this rule, failure or refusal to accept medical treatment means the worker fails or refuses to remain under a physician’s or authorized nurse practitioner’s care or abide by a treatment regimen. A treatment regimen includes, but is not limited to a prescribed diet, exercise program, medication or other activity prescribed by the physician or authorized nurse practitioner that is designed to help the worker reach maximum recovery and become medically stationary.(4) Request for suspension of benefits. The insurer must verify whether the worker complied with the request for cooperation on the date specified in subsection (2)(c) of this rule. If the worker initially agrees to comply, or complies and then refuses or fails to continue doing so, the insurer is not required to send further notice before requesting suspension of compensation.(a) The request for suspension must be sent to the division. A copy of the request, including all attachments, must be sent simultaneously to the worker and the worker’s attorney, if any, by registered or certified mail or by personal service as for a summons.(b) The request must include the following information:(A) That the request for suspension is made in accordance with ORS 656.325 (Required medical examination) and OAR 436-060-0105 (Suspension of Compensation for Insanitary or Injurious Practices, Refusal of Treatment or Failure to Participate in Rehabilitation; Reduction of Benefits);(B) A description of the actions of the worker that prompted the request, including whether such actions continue;(C) Any reasons offered by the worker to explain the behavior, or a statement that the worker has not provided any reasons, whichever is appropriate;(D) How, when, and with whom the worker’s failure or refusal was verified;(E) A copy of the notice required in section (2) of this rule;(F) Any other relevant information including, but not limited to; chart notes, surgical or physical therapy recommendations/prescriptions, and all recommendations from the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner; and(G) The following notice in prominent or bold face type:(c) Any delay in obtaining confirmation or in requesting the suspension of compensation may result in authorization being denied or the date of authorization being modified by the date of actual confirmation or the date the request is received by the division.(d) If the director approves authorization of suspension of compensation:(A) An order will be issued suspending compensation from a date established under subsection (2)(c) of this rule until the worker complies with the insurer’s request for cooperation. Where the worker is suspended for a pattern of noncooperation, the director may require the worker to demonstrate cooperation before reinstating compensation;(B) The insurer must make all reasonable efforts to assist the worker to reinstate benefits when the worker demonstrates the willingness to make such efforts;(C) The insurer must monitor the claim to determine if and when the worker complies with the insurer’s requests;(i) When cooperation resumes, payment of compensation must resume effective the date cooperation was resumed;(ii) If the worker makes no effort to reinstate benefits within 60 days of the mailing date of the suspension order, the insurer must close the claim under OAR 436-030-0034 (Administrative Claim Closure);(D) The director may modify or set aside the suspension order before or after filing of a request for hearing;(E) The director may order payment of compensation previously suspended where the director finds the suspension to have been made in error;(F) The director may re-evaluate the necessity of continuing a suspension; and(G) The order will become final unless, within 60 days after the date of mailing of the order, a party files a request for hearing on the order with the board.(e) If the director denies the insurer’s request for suspension of compensation, the insurer will be notified of the reason for denial. The insurer’s failure to comply with one or more of the requirements addressed in this rule may be grounds for denial of the insurer’s request.(5) Requests to reduce benefits. The director may reduce any benefits awarded the worker under ORS 656.268 (Claim closure) when the worker has unreasonably failed to follow medical advice, or failed to participate in a physical rehabilitation program or vocational assistance program prescribed for the worker under ORS chapter 656 and OAR chapter 436. Such benefits must be reduced by the amount of the increased disability reasonably attributable to the worker’s failure to cooperate.(a) When an insurer submits a request to reduce benefits under this section, the insurer must:(A) Specify the basis for the request;(B) Include all supporting documentation;(C) Send a copy of the request, including the supporting documentation, to the worker and the worker’s attorney, if any, by certified mail; and(D) Include the following notice in prominent or bold face type:(b) The director will make a decision on a request to reduce benefits and notify the parties of the decision. The insurer’s failure to comply with one or more of the requirements addressed in this rule may be grounds for denial of the request to reduce benefits.