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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Brandon Grove, MD
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Determining if a patient needs to be off work due to medical reasons can be difficult. Navigating the various public and private insurances involved in facilitating patient taking time away from work. Brandon reviews the Family Medical Leave Act, short term disability and a commonsense approach to deciding when we should take our patients off work.

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Stephen P. -

Just want to verify my understanding of intermittent absences for chronic condition-if a pt misses work for condition but does not require physician visit for each intermittent absence, pt does not qualify. I have placed pts on fmla for chronic conditions with intermittent absences (I must estimate frequency and duration of absences) for ibs flares, migraines, asthma exacerbations without seeing them for each exacerbation. From review, I gather this to be an incorrect use of fmla?

Heidi J., MD -

Hi Stephen - Here's Brandon's reply to your comment. Hope it helps clarify things for you. Heidi.
Stephen is using fmla correctly. Visits to a physician to diagnose the condition simply help meet criteria, but are not necessary for each exacerbation. The conditions listed are wonderful examples. My migraine patients don't need to see me, but may miss a day of work if they have a particularly severe headache. The act simply required the condition be chronic and under a physician's care (i.e. that same person who uses otc excedrin migraine and doesn't see a doctor doesn't qualify). Additionally, all fmla really does in this setting is offer legal protection so they hesitate in firing someone. It does not pay for the absence.

Hope that helps.

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