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Workers' Compensation

New Mexico: Supreme Court Expands “Health Care Provider” Definition

The Supreme Court of New Mexico indicated the use of the independent medical examination (IME) statute contained in the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act in death benefit cases in spite of a lack of clarity in the statutes. The case involved a relatively complex fact pattern in which the deceased employee’s representative attempted to have admitted into evidence the report of a physician who had treated the employee for cancer—but not the actual work-related condition that the representative contended has caused the employee’s death. The WCC excluded the report because the physician was deemed not to be a “health care provider” as that term is defined in NMSA § 52-1-51(C). The state’s Court of Appeals reversed and while the Supreme Court agreed with the result, it disagreed as to the reasoning. The high court said that rather than allow the sort of unfettered “testimony-shopping” that could result of the Court of Appeals decision, it favored (and ordered) the use of the state’s IME statute. That was the procedure established by the Legislature to help resolve disputes concerning medical care or causation.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Lewis v. Albuquerque Public Schools, 2019 N.M. LEXIS 52 (Nov. 18, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.02.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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