CENTRAL MOLONEY, INC., AND RISK MANAGEMENT RESOURCES APPELLANTS
CAROL SCOLES APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
law Firm PLLC, by: Karen H. McKinney, for appellants.
Davis, for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Scoles sustained compensable left-shoulder and ankle injuries
on March 31, 2015, when, after her shirt got caught in the
coil-winding machine on which she was working at Central
Moloney, Inc., she was pulled into the machine. Central
Moloney now appeals the opinion and order of the Arkansas
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) that
affirmed and adopted the November 16, 2017 opinion of the
administrative law judge (ALJ). On appeal, Central Moloney
argues that the Commission's findings are not supported
by substantial evidence and should be reversed. We affirm.
sustaining admittedly compensable injuries on March 31,
Scoles was treated on April 1, 2015, by Dr. J. Alan Pollard,
an orthopedic surgeon at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in
Pine Bluff. Dr. Pollard performed surgery for Scoles's
left-clavicle fracture and noted on April 20, 2015, that
"the pt [patient] is unable to resume her regular- duty
work at this time. There is no light-duty work available. The
pt will remain off work at this time." Dr. Pollard also
instructed Scoles to quit smoking, and although she cut back
significantly, she never was able to completely quit smoking.
testing indicated nonunion of the fracture. Dr. Pollard
recommended bone-graft surgery, but it was not authorized by
Central Moloney or its insurance carrier. Instead, Central
Moloney arranged for an evaluation by Dr. Kirk Reynolds, an
orthopedic surgeon in Little Rock, who agreed with Dr.
Pollard's recommendation for bone-graft surgery but
stated that he would not perform such a surgery unless and
until Scoles had quit smoking entirely. Dr. Reynolds advised
Scoles that it was 100 percent necessary that she cease
nicotine use before this surgery.
August 18, 2017, Dr. Pollard performed the surgery on Scoles.
On appeal, Central Moloney contends the surgery was not
reasonably necessary and related to the admitted compensable
injuries of March 31, 2015, and that the corresponding
temporary total-disability benefits should not have been
awarded by either the ALJ or the Commission.
appeals involving claims for workers' compensation, we
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
Commission's decision and affirm the decision if it is
supported by substantial evidence. Prock v. Bull Shoals
Boat Landing, 2014 Ark. 93, 431 S.W.3d 858. Substantial
evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion. Id. The issue is
not whether the appellate court might have reached a
different result from the Commission but whether reasonable
minds could reach the result found by the Commission.
Id. Additionally, the credibility of witnesses and
the weight to be given to their testimony are within the
exclusive province of the Commission. Id.
we are prohibited from determining the credibility and weight
to be accorded to each witness's testimony, and we defer
to the Commission's authority to disregard the testimony
of any witness, even a claimant, as not credible. Wilson
v. Smurfit Stone Container, 2009 Ark.App. 800, 373
S.W.3d 347. When there are contradictions in the evidence, it
is within the Commission's province to reconcile
conflicting evidence and determine the facts. Id.
Finally, this court will reverse the Commission's
decision only if it is convinced that fair-minded persons
with the same facts before them could not have reached the
conclusions arrived at by the Commission. Prock,
appeal, Central Moloney argues that the Commission's
finding that the surgery performed by Dr. Pollard was
reasonable and necessary and that the Commission's
finding that Scoles remained in her healing period and was
entitled to temporary total-disability benefits are not
supported by substantial evidence of record. We disagree on
both points and hold that the Commission's opinion in its
entirety is supported by substantial evidence. What
constitutes reasonably necessary medical treatment is a
question of fact for the Commission. Wright Contracting
Co. v. Randall, 12 Ark. App 358, 676 S.W.2d 750 (1984).
It is within the Commission's province to weigh all the
medical evidence and to determine what is most credible.
Minn. Mining & Mfg. v. Baker, 337 Ark. 94, 989
S.W.2d 151 (1999). The Commission has the authority to accept
or reject a medical opinion and the authority to determine
its probative value. Poulan Weed Eater v. Marshall,
79 Ark. App.129, 84 S.W.3d 878 (2002).
authority of the Commission to resolve conflicting evidence
also extends to medical testimony. Swift-Eckrich, Inc. v.
Brock, 63 Ark.App. 118, 975 S.W.2d 857 (1998). The
Commission is entitled to review the basis for a doctor's
opinion in deciding the weight and credibility of the opinion
and medical evidence. Id. In this case, the
Commission did just that: "In the present matter, the
Full Commission finds that Dr. Pollard's recommendation
for additional surgery was entitled to more evidentiary
weight than Dr. Reynold[s]'s recommendation for delay of
medical opinions conflict, the Commission may resolve the
conflict in light of the record as a whole, and in that
light, reach the result that accords with reason, justice,
and common sense. Barksdale Lumber Co. v. McAnally,
262 Ark. 379, 557 S.W.2d 868 (1977). That is exactly what the
Commission did in this case.
total disability is that period within the healing period in
which the employee suffers a total incapacity to earn wages.
Johnson v. Abilities Unlimited, Inc., 2009 Ark.App.
866, 372 S.W.3d 838. The Commission determines, as a matter
of fact, when the healing period has ended. Its decision will
be affirmed on appeal if supported by substantial evidence.
Nat'l Transit Staffing, Inc. v. Norris, 2018
Ark.App. 229, 547 S.W.3d 730. The "healing period"
is defined as the period necessary for the healing of an
injury resulting from an accident. Ark. Code Ann. §
11-9-102(12) (Repl. 2012). The healing period continues until