• Which "Health Care Providers" are you Accepting Certifications under the FMLA?
  • March 4, 2010 | Author: Karen D. Adinolfi
  • Law Firm: Roetzel & Andress A Legal Professional Association - Akron Office
  • If you are a "covered employer" under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") with "covered employees," you should ensure that you are only accepting certifications of serious health conditions from those health care providers allowed under the FMLA. That definition includes: doctors of medicine or osteopathy who are authorized to practice medicine or surgery in the states in which the doctor practices; podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, physician assistants (who are authorized to practice under state law and who pare performing within the scope of their practice as defined under state law) and certain Christian Science Practitioners. 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(a)(1); 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(b).

    What about chiropractors? Chiropractors only fall under the definition of "health care provider" if they are providing treatment consisting of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation demonstrated by an x-ray to exist. They may not serve as a "health care provider" under any other scenario. 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(b)(1).

    However, if you or your company's health plan accepts certification of a serious health condition from any health care provider (including chiropractors providing any type of treatment) to substantiate a claim for benefits, you must also accept that certification from the provider for FMLA leave. 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(b)(4).

    Who is not on the list? Nurses (unless falling into one of the categories above), physical therapists, massage therapists, counselors (unless falling into one of the categories above), hypnotists, acupuncturists, dental hygienists, any medical technicians, pharmacists, and opticians.

    Keep in mind that once you accept a certification and certify the claim as covered under FMLA, you will likely not be able to easily rescind it if you discover that your company has accepted it from someone other than a "health care provider." Be careful, and remember your right to reject certifications that do not comply with the law.