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Thread: Post-op Medical Certifications

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Nashville, TN

    Post-op Medical Certifications

    Has anyone had trouble getting medical certifications, beyond the 12-week FMLA period, from the Dr.'s office post-op for your job? I know with surgical patients my age fused to sacrum, 12 weeks does not appear to be enough recovery time to be able to return to work full-time. My job requires a medical certification from the Dr. office every 30 days, but some Dr. Offices don't handle "long term disability". When I asked about this they said your local Dr. could handle this, but if they aren't the ones doing the surgery then I seriously doubt they will sign a medical certification attesting to my condition. So what am I to do if unable to return to work at 12 weeks? Trying to get things in order so there is less to worry about closer to surgery time. This is just another thing to worry about. Don't need to lose my job over this.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California

    You have plenty of time to address the issue with Dr. Lenke's office, but I suspect your PCP can easily handle this. The ability to go back to work probably won't be a structural problem. So, if at your 3M postop appointment your implants look normal, but you have a lot of pain or other medical issues, your primary care doctor will probably help you out if Dr. Lenke is reluctant.

    I can't remember anyone saying they were forced to return to work before they were ready, though I'm sure it's happened.

    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Syracuse, NY, USA

    Old thread, but I'm just now reading it.

    My employer only offers Short Term Disability; in the state of New York there is a mandatory Short Term Disability plan that all employers with a certain number of employees are required to offer. It provides for up to 6 months of short term disability, though the amount of salary it covers is pretty miniscule. I had to bring the standard NYS Disability Claim form with me either to my pre-op appointment about 3 weeks before surgery, or with me on the day of surgery. At 5 months out, it's hard to recall which one it was.

    Then the insurance company that handles the program for my employer required medical updates once a month. I sent that form to the surgeon's office, but had to also send in $5 to cover the charge for filling out the follow-up form; there was no charge for them filling in the initial form.

    My surgery was January 23rd; every form filled in by the surgeon had the estimated return to work date for me filled in as October 1st. That's a bit over 8 months. My surgery was T9 to S1 with pelvic fixation.

    I actually returned to work part-time from home as of April 23rd. I had hoped to work up to 20 hours a week in the early days, but so far have at best managed 23 hours over the entire 2-week pay period. But last week I worked 15 hours in a single week, so I may be able to report quite a bit more hours for this 2-week pay period.

    From the time I was hired in July 2009 through July 2011, I regularly worked 4 days at home, then 1 day a week in the employer's office which is 156 miles away from here (each way). So I have a history of working at home for my employer.

    I did receive a note from the Orthopedic spine fellow (now that I'm post-op, I no longer see the actual surgeon) which indicated that I was cleared to return to work "after course of PT". My last physical therapy appointment is coming up on Wednesday. I'm obviously not fully recovered yet (still need a cane at times as I still hobble a bit without it), but the insurance isn't going to cover any more than the 24 visits I will have had by the time Wednesday's appointment is over.

    Now that you're on the other side, have you been able to address this issue?

    -- Mary

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