Ford Motor Co. does not have to cover massage therapy for an injured worker in part because the treatment was not prescribed by a doctor, a Michigan Board of Appeal ruled Thursday.
Russ M. Belcher was injured in 2006 while working for the automaker and required medical treatment for back and right leg injuries and for headaches. Although he was not referred to massage therapy by his doctor, he chose to start receiving it in October 2014 after his physiotherapy ended. He usually received a massage from a licensed massage therapist twice a week, according to documents in Russ M. Belcher v. Ford Motor Co., filed in the Court of Appeal of Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. [1
Because Ford refused to pay for massage therapy as part of a claim for workers' compensation, Belcher appealed to the courts, a judge ruled that massage therapy was "reasonable and necessary" and ordered Ford to cover the costs.
The State Court of Appeals upheld the decision to pay for the massage therapy and wrote that Mr. Belcher “did not receive a prescription for his massages and they were performed by massage therapists, not physiotherapists or physiotherapist assistants under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist. plaintiff not right to compensation from workers for his massage.