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Many people believe that workers’ rights under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) begin with the Act’s procedural protections. This is only half true. They actually begin with the production of medical and diagnostic evidence supporting that you have a work injury. This fact means there are many pages of rules and hundreds of Employees Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) decisions regarding the nature and character of medical evidence, and how it is relevant or not to your claim.

Misconceptions abound. For example, many people these days prefer to seek so-called alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care, for back injuries. Under the FECA, this is tightly and narrowly regulated, and means that whatever diagnosis a chiropractor makes, will most often have to be seconded by an M.D. physician or osteopath. Pines Federal can show you how to navigate this confusing and essential process.

Another equally important qualification applies to cases of emotional injury. Most federal employees are not aware that large classes of mental health professionals, such as social workers, counselors, family therapists and so forth, are not considered mental health professionals under the FECA. Pines Federal can assist you in selecting qualified mental health professionals who will help you develop the needed therapy and medical reports to substantiate your condition.

A word about physical and occupational therapists are relevant here. These are considered allied health professionals, not physicians, but their notes and reports are not infrequently used by physicians to establish medical restrictions for when you return to work after a period of disability. However, light duty is also a complex subject, which we will discuss in an upcoming blog.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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