Favoring the Injured Limb: Perspectives on Workers’ Compensation

J. Mark Melhorn MD

According to the AAOS 2010 report on Orthopaedic Practice in the United States, most orthopaedic surgeons in private practice have four major sources of income—private payers, Medicare, self pay, and workers’ compensation. For the practitioners who responded to the survey, workers’ compensation accounted for between 11 percent and 15 percent of their total compensation.

To retain—or increase—workers’ compensation as a significant payer source, orthopaedic surgeons need to stay up-to-date on issues surrounding the impact of injury on a patient’s ability to work. Take, for example, the question of whether favoring the injured limb results in overuse of the opposite uninjured limb. If it does, the patient may be able to claim a work-compensable condition in the originally uninjured opposite limb.

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