By Stuart D. Colburn, Shareholder, Downs Stanford
In Appeals Panel Decision 100146, the issue reported out of the Benefit Review Conference is whether or not the compensable injury extended to and included “depressive reaction with anxiety (anxiety and depression), major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and/or mental disease”. The Hearing Officer found that compensable injury extended to and included “depressive reaction with anxiety” but did not extend to and include anxiety and depression, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and/or any other mental disease apart from depressive reaction with anxiety.
In preparing for spinal surgery, Claimant underwent psychological testing by a professional counselor who believed Claimant was experiencing severe depression and had a significant level of anxiety. The treating doctor believed the Claimant was a poor candidate for surgery because the Claimant had depressive reaction with anxiety and other psychological problems. The Appeals Panel affirmed the Hearing Officer’s decision the Claimant had “depressive reaction with anxiety” but the injury did not extend to and include major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. However, the Appeals Panel found the psychological counselor’s evaluation supported Claimant had experienced severe depressive and anxiety. The Appeals Panel stated, “We read the issue reported from the Benefit Review Conference as equating, ‘depressive reaction with anxiety (anxiety and depression),’ as one condition, noting that anxiety and depression is in parentheses and is followed by a comma, and the other conditions each of which are separated by commas.” Therefore, the Appeals Panel held the issue as framed equated “depressive” reaction with “anxiety” is the same condition as “anxiety” and “depression”. The Appeals Panel reversed the Hearing Officer and found Claimant’s injury did extend to and include anxiety and depression.
Lexis.com subscribers can access Texas Workers' Compensation Commission Appeal No. 100146.