Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

NO spasm


									CASE NO. 18 Z 600 15001 3                                                                         2

                    NO-FAULT/ACCIDENT CLAIMS

In the Matter of the Arbitration between


                                                         AAA CASE NO.: 18 Z 600 15001 3
                v.                                       INS. CO. CLAIMS NO.: 30V538161
STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY                             DRP NAME: Herbert S. Alterman
(Respondent)                                             NATURE OF DISPUTE: Medical


by the American Arbitration Association under the Rules for the Arbitration of No-Fault Disputes
in the State of New Jersey, adopted pursuant to the 1998 New Jersey “Automobile Insurance Cost
Reduction Act” as governed by N.J.S.A. 39:6A-5, et. seq., and, I have been duly sworn and have
considered such proofs and allegations as were submitted by the Parties. The Award is
DETERMINED as follows:

Injured Person(s) hereinafter referred to as: JV

1. ORAL HEARING held on          1/5/04.

2. BOTH PARTIES APPEARED at the oral hearing(s)
   No one appeared telephonically.

3. Claims in the Demand for Arbitration were not amended at the oral hearing (Amendments, if
any, set forth below). STIPULATIONS were not made by the parties regarding the issues to be
determined (Stipulations, if any, set forth below).

        JV was injured in an automobile accident on 3/2/02. Two days later, claimant examined
him and found spasm, loss of range of motion, tenderness to palpation, and positive orthopedic
tests in both the cervical and lumbar spines. Claimant treated JV from 3/4/02 to 4/4/03.
Respondent denied payment for services rendered by claimant to JV on 9/19, 9/23, 10/4, and
10/11/02 based on physicians’ advisories. It cut off further chiropractic treatment on 10/31/02
based on the examination report of Kenneth Gross, DC. Claimant seeks to recover the bills
incurred after the date of the cutoff to the end of treatment and for four earlier dates of service.
       On 9/19 JV complained of bilateral neck and upper back pain at a level of 7 on a scale of 1
to 10. Claimant found spasm and trigger points and provided treatment. On the following visit,
JV complained of middle and lower back stiffness. His pain level remained the same. On 10/4 JV
complained of neck pain and upper and low back stiffness. His pain level was the same. Claimant
found spasm and trigger points. On 10/11, JV complained of head stiffness, neck and upper back
stiffness. His pain level remained at 7. Claimant found spasm in the lower cervical, upper and
lower thoracic regions, trigger points in the upper and lower cervical and regions, which were
also tender to palpation.
         On 9/16/02, Michael Cornely, DC, denied precertification for the treatments requested by
claimant from 9/12 to 10/12/02. He observed that there was some reduction in JV’s overall pain
CASE NO. 18 Z 600 15001 3                                                                         3

and discomfort, but progress was slow. He noted that there was minimal documentation provided
and concluded that, based on his experience, JV has had sufficient chiropractic treatment to
receive maximum benefit. He recommended an independent medical examination. On 9/19/02,
he again denied claimant’s precertification request for treaement for the same dates. In his denial
he noted JV’s severe neck and back pain, spasm, and decreased ranges of motion. The reason for
the denial was that JV had missed two defense examinations, the treatments fell outside the care
paths, and they were not supported by exam findings.
        Dr. Gross examined JV on 9/24/02. JV complained of occasional neck and occasional
lower back pain. The only abnormal findings were tenderness to palpation at the C6 segmental
level on the right, a 6 degree decrease in right lateral flexion, and pain with extension of the
dorso-lumbar spine. All other ranges of motion in the cervical and dorso-lumbar spines were
normal; all related orthopedic and neurological examinations for both areas were normal; there
was no spasm. He diagnosed JV with cervicalgia and concluded that further chiropractic
treatment was not warranted and would offer JV no further medical improvement.
        Claimant’s daily notes for the four days of service in September and October 2002, all
contain the same assessment of JV; i.e., that he “remains the same. The patient’s condition
remains unchanged from the previous visit.” Each note reports JV’s pain level 7. With few
exceptions, the same assessment and a pain level, is reported in claimant’s daily notes throughout
his treatment. On 2 dates in November and December 2002, claimant reported that JV
experienced exacerbations in his condition. On 1/8/03, the daily notes indicate that JV showed
improvement. A similar notation is contained in the daily notes for other visits in January,
March, and April. On 2 dates, the notes state that there was no improvement. However, virtually
every daily note from 9/19/02 through the last treatment on 4/14/03 states that JV’s “assessment
remains the same” and his “condition remains essentially unchanged since the previous
treatment;” that his pain level was 7, and that examination revealed spasm and trigger points.
      Reviewing his treatment, claimant’s letter dated 9/23/03 states that JV continued to show
progress and when the maximum benefit of chiropractic care had been derived, he was advised
that he would require treatment from time to time. to obtain relief from aggravation of the
original injury. Claimant’s letter dated 12/11/03 indicates that he treated JV 71 times and that his
office notes show improvement in range of motion and decrease in cervical and lumbar spasm
and that improvement was made with the treatments after the cutoff.
     It is difficult to reconcile the statements in claimant’s post-treatment letters with the
statements and findings reported in his daily notes. Also, although claimant states that JV made
improvement after the cutoff, that improvement is not reflected in the daily notes. The last note
on 4/14/03 reports JV’s complaints of bilateral neck stiffness, bilateral upper back stiffness,
bilateral middle back stiffness, bilateral lower back stiffness, a pain level of 7, and objective
findings of spasm in the cervical and lumbar spines as well as trigger poi`nts in the thoracic
region. The same complaints reported by claimant in September and October 2002. I conclude,
therefore, that the conclusions expressed by Drs. Cornely and Gross were correct. I find that
claimant has not carried the burden of proving, by preponderance of the credible evidence, that
the treatment provided to JV on 9/19/02 and thereafter was not medically necessary, reasonable
and causally related to the accident.



Provider              Amount Claimed             Amount Awarded           Payable to
CASE NO. 18 Z 600 15001 3                                                              4

Explanations of the application of the medical fee schedule, deductibles, co-payments, or
other particular calculations of Amounts Awarded, are set forth below.

6.   INCOME CONTINUATION BENEFITS:                        Not In Issue
7.   ESSENTIAL                                            Not In Issue
8.   DEATH BENEFITS:                                      Not In Issue
9.   FUNERAL EXPENSE BENEFITS:                            Not In Issue

10. I find that the CLAIMANT did not prevail, and I award the following
COSTS/ATTORNEYS FEES under N.J.S.A. 39:6A-5.2 and INTEREST under N.J.S.A.
       (A) Other COSTS as follows: (payable to counsel of record for CLAIMANT
unless otherwise indicated):
       (B) ATTORNEYS FEES as follows: (payable to counsel of record for
CLAIMANT unless otherwise indicated):
      (C) INTEREST is as follows:

This Award is in FULL SATISFACTION of all Claims submitted to this arbitration.

January 28, 2003                                   ________________________
Date                                        Herbert S. Alterman, Esq.

To top