One of the benefits of being self-employed and writing my own blog is that I can express my opinion on what is right with Nevada’s workers’ compensation system, and what needs improvement or overhauling. I accept no "favors" from medical providers I mention as providing superior service to injured workers. I like to let hurt employees know which doctors and facilities I like in the hope that it may benefit my readers. Obviously, people will disagree with my opinion, and they may have different experiences. I am always happy to hear about your particular experiences, and encourage you to write to me about which medical providers have been helpful, and who haven’t been.
I’ve known physical therapist Karen Crawford, owner of MML Physical Therapy, for as long as I’ve been practicing workers’ comp law, and she is the real deal. When you first meet Karen, you are immediately impressed by her passion for helping injured people get well. She genuinely cares about her patients, and she is forthright and direct in her opinions. Her obvious commitment to her patients sets her apart from the many physical therapy options in the Vegas Valley where the patient may or may not have just a few minutes of the actual therapist’s time. Karen’s integrity is exceptional, and you can count on getting an honest opinion from her, whether you agree with her or not.
Karen offers more than her experiences as a certified physical therapist licensed in Nevada and Texas. She is a board certified pain management specialist, and is affiliated with the national associations that research chronic pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, fibromyalgia, and sports medicine. She has a reputation among both the more experienced claims managers and claimants’ attorneys as a therapist who can evaluate and treat the most difficult chronic pain patients. Her triple Masters of Science in Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, and Physical Therapy allow her to gain insight into treating the patient as a whole person. She consequently gets phenomenal results in restoring miserable patients to better health and happiness.
Karen understands the politics of the workers’ compensation system better than most. She tells me that she knows her business has taken a hit financially because she doesn’t bend to pressure from adjusters who want to tell her how to treat her patients. She spends time listening to each patient, and refuses to sacrifice quality treatment in order to obtain a quantify of referrals from insurers.
Like a few of the other larger, established physical therapy providers in Las Vegas, she is asked to perform Functional Capacity Evaluations. FCE’s are used by doctors to determine what an injured worker’s permanent work restrictions should be. Only, Karen goes one step further. She has seen a disturbing increase in the number of invalid FCE’s by other therapists. An invalid FCE occurs when the therapist conducting the test does not think the patient has passed over 70% of the validity criteria built into the test. Validity criteria supposedly reveals whether the patient is trying their best to physically perform the test. Most doctors release the patient with a full duty work release if the FCE is invalid. However, the doctor gets the ultimate say on whether the patient should have work restrictions or not.
Karen has observed an increasing number of invalid FCE’s done by other therapists. She doesn’t think that all of of those injured workers are deliberately trying to appear more disabled when taking the test. She therefore has graciously agreed to re-test injured workers on a FCE for the reduced price of $500. (A FCE normally takes several hours of the therapist’s time, and they cost over $750.) Karen understands that injured workers who are released full duty based on an invalid FCE are out of work, don’t have any money to challenge their insurer, and will not get any retraining benefits until they can obtain a valid FCE to present at a hearing. This is truly a humanitarian service that Karen offers injured workers who need a second FCE. There is no guarantee that the injured worker will pass a second FCE, but at least Karen offers a second chance at a reduced price.
MML Physical Therapy is located at 1701 Bearden Drive, Suite 201, Las Vegas, NV 89106. The business phone is (702) 384-6330; Fax (702) 384-2668; email Crawfordpainpt@gmail.com.
Virginia Hunt, Hunt