Virginia Employer Need Not Provide Specialized “Running Blade” Prosthesis
While all but a few American jurisdictions require employers to provide medical benefits that are essentially unlimited in terms of duration and amount [see e.g., Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (“Larson”) § 94.01], in most states such medical care need not be provided unless it is “reasonable and necessary.” A recent decision from Virginia, Pacheco v. J.P. Masonry, Inc., 2017 Va. App. LEXIS 294 (Nov. 28, 2017), illustrates the point that while an injured worker might derive some legitimate, real benefit from a medical procedure, prescription, or device, it does not necessarily follow that the cost of that medical expense must be borne by the employer. Specifically, although medical evidence clearly showed that an injured worker—who sustained a work-related accident that resulted in a below-the-foot amputation of his left foot—might benefit from the provision of a special “running blade” prosthesis used by amputees in various athletic activities, the special prosthesis was not medically necessary under Va. Code Ann. § 65.2-603.