DONALD A. WESTLING, Petitioner-Appellant,
HORMEL FOODS CORPORATION, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Carla T.
workers' compensation claimant seeks to overturn the
commissioner's denial of alternative care under Iowa Code
section 85.27(4) (2011). AFFIRMED.
S. Soldat of Soldat & Parrish-Sams, P.L.C., West Des
Moines, for appellant.
Valerie A. Landis of Hopkins & Huebner, P.C., Des Moines,
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
Donald Westling contends the workers' compensation
commissioner wrongly denied his application for alternate
medical care under Iowa Code section 85.27(4) (2011).
Westling's application sought treatment for his right
knee, which he injured in 1993 and 1996 while working at
Hormel Foods Corporation. After several surgeries, including
a total knee replacement in 2005, Westling continued to
experience pain in his knee and received authorization from
Hormel to see orthopedic surgeon Michael Crane. After
examining Westling's knee, Dr. Crane recommended Westling
wait until he had "more trouble" before considering
revision surgery. Westling asserts Dr. Crane's August 9,
2011 "diagnostic examination" did not constitute
"treatment" under section 85.27(4).
commissioner decided Westling did not meet his burden to show
he was entitled to alternate medical care. In the
commissioner's view, reasonable care included services
"necessary to diagnose the condition" and Westling
did not show the services provided by Dr. Crane were
unreasonable. The district court ruled the commissioner
identified sufficient facts to justify her denial of
alternate care. Because the record amply supports the
commissioner's conclusion Westling did not show the
authorized care was unreasonable, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
worked for Hormel for thirty years, starting in 1976. During
that time, Westling twice injured his right knee at the
meatpacking plant and received workers' compensation
payments for those injuries, including ongoing medical
benefits. Westling underwent several surgeries on his knee,
including one in 1998 performed by Dr. Crane. Westling
suffered deep venous thrombosis (DVT) as a result of that
surgery. After those complications, Westling opted to be seen
by Dr. Adrian Wolbrink, who performed a total knee
replacement in 2005. Westling retired from Hormel the
following year and moved to Milford, Iowa.
continued problems with his knee, Westling went to his
Milford family-care provider in June 2011, and he was
referred to Dr. Gregory Alvine with Core Orthopedics in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota. Hormel instead approved an appointment
with Dr. Crane in Mason City. On October 19, 2011, Dr. Crane
performed a clinical examination of Westling's knee, as
well as ordering and reviewing x-rays. Westling testified Dr.
Crane spent "probably ten minutes" talking to him
during the appointment.
Crane made the following notes regarding the appointment:
Donald Westling is seen today for evaluation of his right
total knee replacement done in 2005. Prior to that he had a
proximal tibial osteotomy in 1996-1997. He states the knee
hurts off and on. It feels like it will give out on ...