Monday, April 30, 2012

Medical Marijuana is Reimbursable, Louisiana Appeals Court Decides

Risk & Insurance may not be the periodical of choice for most, but an interesting case was posted among its otherwise staid coverage of deductibles, collision coverage and actuary tables.

An appeals court in Louisiana (Creole Steel, Inc. v. Stewart, No. WCA 11-1285 for you lawyer types) found that a "worker" was entitled to reimbursement medical marijuana costs he paid out of pocket.

A summary of the case details that the worker injured his spine while working. A doctor visit uncovered that he was using marijuana and the doctor warned he could no longer treat the worker if he continued its use.

Explaining that the cannabis enabled him to sleep and that it gave him some relief from his pain, the doctor prescribed it to him. However, his employer challenged its use as a "reasonable medical necessity of the prescription."

A workers' compensation judge found that the doctor could continue while pursuing other treatments.

After a trial, the workers' compensation judge concluded that the doctor could proceed with his recommendation that the worker use medical marijuana while investigating other treatment alternatives.

The Louisiana Court of Appeal ultimately sided with the worker, and ruled that the medical marijuana expenses were reimbursable.

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