ARKANSAS HEALTH CENTER AND ARKANSAS INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CLAIMS DIVISION APPELLANTS
STEPHANIE BURNETT APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NOS.
G602830 & G608244]
Charles H. McLemore Jr., Arkansas Insurance Dep't, Public
Employees Claims Division, for appellant.
Young & Houston, PLLC, by: Terence C. Jensen, for
KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE
Arkansas Health Center (AHC) and Arkansas Insurance
Department, Public Employee Claims Division (PECD), appeal
from a November 22, 2017 opinion by the Arkansas Workers'
Compensation Commission (Commission). The Commission granted
additional medical treatment to appellee Stephanie
Burnett-specifically, the surgery recommended by Dr. James R.
Adametz and additional temporary total-disability (TTD)
benefits from February 23, 2017, until a date yet to be
determined. On appeal, appellants contend that substantial
evidence does not support the Commission's decision. We
worked as a certified nursing assistant for AHC before her
injuries. The parties stipulated that she sustained a
compensable back injury on April 11, 2016. Appellee claimed
that she injured her back while she was showering a patient.
She was treated at Saline Memorial Hospital and discharged
with "THORACIC STRAIN." After returning to work,
appellee sustained a stipulated compensable neck injury on
April 15, 2016. Appellee claimed that the right side of her
neck popped and that her right side went numb when she was
assisting a resident out of bed into her wheelchair. She was
treated at Saline Memorial Hospital and discharged with
"THORACIC STRAIN, THORACIC MUSCLE SPASM."
was subsequently treated conservatively by Dr. Bruce W.
Randolph at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. An
MRI of appellee's lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine
was taken in May 2016. That MRI revealed the following
relevant impressions according to the radiologist:
1. Minimal degenerative changes in the lower cervical spine
at C6-7. There is no canal stenosis of neural foraminal
2. Minimal degenerative changes in the lower lumbar spine.
There is no canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing.
3. The cord appears normal in size and signal.
Randolph noted that he considered those findings to be within
normal limits and that he was releasing her from his care to
resume her regular duties.
formally changed physicians and began receiving treatment
from Dr. Adametz on June 21, 2016. Dr. Adametz examined
appellee and reviewed her May 2016 MRI. Regarding the MRI,
Dr. Adametz noted that
[t]he cervical spine shows sort of a central disc herniation
at C6-7, it is not causing any real cord compression or
anything, but is not normal. There is a questionable
abnormality at C5-6 in the foramen, but I could not see it on
all the views. The rest of the neck looks okay. The thoracic
spine did not show anything significant. The lumbar spine
showed multiple small bulging discs, but not anything major
that looked surgical or anything.
recommended conservative treatment at that time. Appellee
received physical therapy, epidural ...