First off, that title might be a bit misleading. I’m just trying to liven up an extremely dry subject area, so cut me some slack please. Not all nurses can certify temporary total disability compensation. However, according to Industrial Commission Policy Memo D8, updated effective July 30, 2018, during the first six weeks following an injury certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants can certify disability.
That ability to certify disability is limited to the first six weeks following the injury however. I’ve seen many instances when physician assistants in particular continue to certify disability well beyond that time period. In that instance, if you represent employers, you can challenge those MEDCO-14’s.
That’s not to say that employers should necessarily take the temporary total disability issue to hearing exclusively because a MEDCO-14 is signed by a CNP or PA. You may just end up getting a MEDCO-14 signed by a physician in the practice. However, it is definitely something to keep in mind when you are on the fence about whether to contest a period of TTD, and certainly an arrow that employers’ attorneys such as myself should keep in our quiver so to speak.
Of course, both during and after six weeks from the date of injury, certification of temporary total disability for physical conditions may be submitted by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, or Chiropractor. Both during and after six weeks from the date of injury, certification of temporary total disability for psychological conditions may only be submitted by a Psychologist, Medical Doctor, or Doctor of Osteopathy.
Note that this is limited to the first 6 weeks following an injury, not the first six weeks of disability. In the case of an injured worker who continues working for a while and then eventually goes back to work, the six weeks runs from when the injury occurred, not from when the person first went off work.