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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Workers' compensation -- Medical benefits

Second surgical opinions, non-emergency

Under Minnesota Statutes 176.135 Subd. 1a, the employer is required to furnish surgical treatment when the surgery is reasonably required to cure and relieve the effects of the injury or occupational disease. Before approval of non-emergency surgery, both the employer and the employee have the right to request a second opinion. The statutes do not compel an employee to undergo surgery. The obligations for payment of the second opinion are:

  • If an employee desires a second opinion on the necessity of surgery, the employer is obligated to pay the costs of obtaining the second opinion.

  • If the employer requires the employee to obtain a second opinion before surgery, the employer is responsible for the costs of that examination.

If an employee refuses to attend a second opinion at the employer's request, the employer has the option of denying payment for the proposed surgery only if the employer has medical information to dispute the reasonableness of the proposed treatment.

See also, Minnesota Rules Part 5221.6050 Subp. 9(c)(5).

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