by Lenin V. Perez
The U.S. Postal Service has established a business relationship with Align Networks to set up a program that provides physical therapy network services for employees with work related injuries and illnesses.
The Postal Service has held mandatory service talks around the country to pitch the Align Network program to employees on the workroom floor.
If you are an injured federal employee, high-quality physical therapy may significantly speed up your recovery and improve your prospects for long-term rehabilitation. While there are many excellent physical therapists, there are also many mediocre physical therapists. Often the physical therapist rather than the referring physician determines the actual therapeutic regimen to treat the accepted condition.
Once OWCP authorizes physical therapy, it is important for you to choose a skilled physical therapist that will provide the proper course of therapy. In making the important choice of selecting a physical therapist, you are not required to go to any therapist in the Align Network. You and your doctor should make the choice that best serves you.
Align Networks is nothing more than a middle man. They provide no physical therapy or medical care of any kind. They merely have been contracted to send injured workers to physicians or facilities in their network. You do not have to use their recommended provider. It is your right under federal law to choose your own medical provider for treatment of your work related injury or illness. You should exercise that right.
For more information on the Postal Service, Align Network and postal employee rights and privileges when injured on the job and needing medical care including physical therapy, please see the information below.
from OWCP Alert “Align Web Posting _OWCP Approved” – http://1.usa.gov/1rgX0f0
No Change in OWCP Procedures for Physical Therapy Authorizations
Recent communications from the United States Postal Service and Align Networks have caused confusion regarding the process for securing authorization for physical therapy for treatment of approved conditions under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). Under 5 U.S.C. 8103 and its implementing regulations and procedures, only the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has the authority to determine what medical care will be authorized. Authorization requests should continue to be sent to ACS as OWCP’s designated bill processing agent; authorizations and bills are processed by ACS in accordance with OWCP’s established guidelines. In addition:
· Medical Providers are not required to refer USPS claimants only to the Align Network for authorization for physical therapy; any communication that suggests or implies otherwise is simply incorrect.
· Align Networks does not have the power to authorize physical therapy treatment under FECA.
Consistent with past practice, all requests for authorization of physical therapy must be submitted to OWCP’s medical billing contractor, ACS, using the template pproved by OWCP. If the request is not submitted electronically through the ACS web portal at http://owcp.dol.acsinc.com, any request for authorization of physical therapy must be faxed to 800-215-4901. Faxing a request for physical therapy to any other number will delay OWCP/ACS’s processing and authorization of physical therapy. In addition:
· No federal employee (including any USPS employee/claimant) is required to use Align Network, or a physical therapist that is affiliated with Align Network, for scheduling or treatment of a condition approved by OWCP under FECA.
· Regardless of what provider is used, there are never co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses under FECA for physical therapy treatment for an approved condition.
While OWCP has no objection to any claimant using Align Network for physical therapy, such use cannot reduce an injured employee’s out of pocket expenses as there are none.”
Call Federal Workers Compensation Consultants today for a free initial consultation at 813-931-1984
Federal Workers Compensation Consultants
Workers Compensation and Disability Retirement Specialists
9639 N. Armenia Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33612
Se Habla Espanol – 813-931-1984