DANIEL R. MILLS APPELLANT
AEROCARE HOLDINGS, INC., AND STANDARD FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Frederick S. "Rick" Spencer, for appellant.
M. Ryburn, for appellees.
W. GRUBER, Chief Judge
a workers' compensation case. Daniel R. Mills, a
respiratory therapist for Aerocare Holdings, Inc., sustained
a compensable injury to his left shoulder in June 2012 while
lifting a 200-pound tank of liquid oxygen. On September 25,
2012, he underwent left-shoulder arthroscopic surgery with
subacromial decompression and distal clavicle resection by
orthopedic surgeon Dr. Russ B. Rauls. Mr. Mills later
received occupational therapy, was released by Dr. Rauls to
work with lifting restrictions, and-on March 20, 2013-was
released to full duty without restrictions. Mr. Mills's
work with Aerocare ended a month later due to staffing
changes. He was granted a one-time change of physicians to
Dr. Christopher A. Arnold, who saw him in November 2013 for
an initial office visit.
November 18, 2015, an administrative law judge conducted a
hearing on controverted issues in this case. By written
opinion, the law judge rejected Mr. Mills's claims that
the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Act is
unconstitutional and that he was entitled to additional
medical treatment for the left shoulder and to related
benefits. The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
adopted and affirmed the law judge's opinion. Mr. Mills
appeals, raising two points: (1) a second left-shoulder
procedure, as recommended by Dr. Arnold, is reasonable and
necessary medical treatment, and (2) our workers'
compensation law is unconstitutional. We affirm.
Additional Medical Treatment
employer shall promptly provide for an injured employee such
medical services as may be reasonably necessary in connection
with the employee's injury. Ark. Code Ann. §
11-9-508(a) (Repl. 2012). What constitutes reasonably
necessary treatment is a question of fact for the Commission,
whose duty is to use its expertise to determine the soundness
of medical evidence and to translate it into findings of
fact. Bennett v. Tyson Poultry, Inc., 2016 Ark.App.
479, at 3-4, 504 S.W.3d 653, 656. When the primary injury is
shown to have arisen out of and in the course of employment,
the employer is responsible for any natural consequence that
flows from that injury. Nichols v. Omaha Sch. Dist.,
2010 Ark.App. 194, at 5, 374 S.W.3d 148, 151.
burden is on the employee to establish, by a preponderance of
the evidence, a causal connection between the injury and the
consequences of such. Id. at 5-6, 374 S.W.3d at 151;
see Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-705(a)(3). When the
Commission denies benefits because the claimant has failed to
meet his or her burden of proof by a preponderance of the
evidence, the substantial-evidence standard of review
requires that we affirm if the Commission's decision
displays a substantial basis for the denial of relief.
Jordan v. Home Depot, Inc., 2013 Ark.App. 572, 430
S.W.3d 136. We review the evidence in the light most
favorable to the Commission's findings and will affirm if
those findings are supported by substantial evidence; we
defer to the Commission's findings of credibility and the
resolution of conflicting evidence. Bennett, 2016
Ark.App. 479, at 2-3, 504 S.W.3d at 656; We Get Rid of It
Ark. v. Graham, 2016 Ark.App. 88, at 10.
denying Mills's claim for additional treatment by Dr.
Arnold, the Commission reasoned as follows:
Dr. Rauls, the treating physician released the claimant with
full duty and no restrictions on the 20th day of March, 2013,
after a left shoulder injury. Dr. Arnold opined on November
19, , in referring to the left shoulder, that I would
do surgery if the claimant returns "but" if he gets
relief [from an injection administered that day] and it stays
away for good, I would not do surgery. It then appears from
the record that the claimant did have the opportunity to
return to Dr. Arnold, but the discussion with Dr. Arnold was
about the right shoulder and there appears to be no record
regarding the left shoulder. Also, claimant's testimony
states that he went to the VA and there was inflammation of
the shoulder but apparently they felt that there was not
sufficient findings to go ahead and perform an MRI. Finally,
the bilateral strength evaluation that was performed with a
side to side comparison actually showed the left side to be
Commission's opinion summarized Mr. Mills's medical
treatment from the June 2012 injury through return visits to
Dr. Arnold in August 2014. Dr. Rauls ordered an MRI, which
was performed on June 19, 2012, and interpreted by Dr. Kyle
McAlister. In his radiology report, Dr. McAlister dictated
this impression: "Impingement on the rotator cuff by
degenerative changes of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and
large inferior bony spurs, but I do not see a tear of the
rotator cuff, although there is certainly tendonosis of the
rotator cuff present." Dr. Rauls wrote on July 12, 2012,
that Mr. Mills had "impingement syndrome, biceps
tendonitis, and a SLAP (superior labrum anterior to
posterior) tear, " which Dr. Rauls believed to be a
direct result of an on-the-job injury. Dr. Rauls's
surgical report of September 25, 2012, stated that
"superior labrum had some mild fraying but overall
looked pretty good. Had some mild inflammation of his
capsule. His articular and bursal rotator cuff looked good.
We did a decompression of the distal clavicle." Both Dr.
Rauls and the occupational therapist signed the notes of a
May 23, 2013 impairment examination: "A bilateral static
strength evaluation was performed for a side to side strength
comparison. The left side was found to be stronger that the
non-affected right. No strength impairment was, therefore,
assigned." The Commission reviewed an office visit of
November 19, 2013:
[T]he claimant presented to Dr. Chris Arnold with
left-shoulder pain. Dr. Arnold's report provided negative
for crepitus, joint instability, joint locking, joint
tenderness, limping, popping and spasms but positive for
decreased mobility and weakness. The report further provided
that right shoulder strength was normal but there was
weakness in the left shoulder and consequently, an
arthrocentesis was performed for rotator cuff tendonitis and
Doctor Arnold stated that if he gets complete relief and it
stays away for good then I would not do surgery, but if it
comes back as anticipated, I would recommend repeat
arthroscopy, acromioplasty, and distal clavical resection.
the Commission noted Mr. Mills's complaints of
right-shoulder pain at his August 5, 2014 visit to Dr.
Arnold, which Dr. ...