Appeal of Northridge Environmental, LLC (New Hampshire Compensation Appeals Board)
October 8, 2015.
Compensation Appeals Board.
Law Office of Leslie H. Johnson, PLLC, of Center
Sandwich ( Leslie H. Johnson on the brief and
orally), for the petitioner.
Mullen & McGourty, PC, of Bedford ( Craig A.
Russo and Emily Conant on the brief, and
Mr. Russo orally), for the respondents.
J. DALIANIS, C.J., and HICKS, CONBOY, and LYNN, JJ.,
respondents, Northridge Environmental, LLC (Northridge) and
Arch Insurance Company (carrier), appeal a decision of the
New Hampshire Compensation Appeals Board (CAB) granting the
request by the petitioner, John Nicholson, for reimbursement
for home health care services provided to him by his wife,
Angela Nicholson. We affirm.
found, or the record supports, the following facts. In July
2010, the petitioner was seriously injured on the job while
working for Northridge. After a period of hospitalization,
the petitioner was discharged on August 25, 2010. The
petitioner was prescribed medication and follow-up care,
which included home health services " through VNA of
Southern Carroll County ... . This will include physical and
occupational therapy, a home health aide, and nursing
services." The respondents
offered to pay for the prescribed services, but the
petitioner chose, instead, to have his wife provide the
the petitioner's release from the hospital, he had
multiple open wounds that required daily cleaning, and he
" needed 24/7 care, due to balance problems, short term
memory loss, and inability to perform certain regular
activities of daily living." Although the
petitioner's wife did not have any formal medical
training, she provided the required care to the petitioner,
including cleaning his wounds, bathing him, dressing him,
aiding him in the use of the bathroom, helping him move
around, and constantly supervising him.
September 2011, the petitioner sought reimbursement from the
carrier for the services provided by his wife. After the
carrier denied the request, the petitioner asked for a
hearing before the New Hampshire Department of Labor (DOL).
The petitioner sought reimbursement at a rate of $15 per
hour, 16 hours per day, between August 25, 2010, the date of
his release from the hospital, and June 4, 2012, the date of
the DOL hearing. The DOL denied the request for
petitioner appealed to the CAB. Following a de novo
hearing, the CAB denied reimbursement. After unsuccessfully
moving for reconsideration, the petitioner appealed to this
court. We vacated the CAB ruling and remanded the case for
the CAB to determine in the first instance whether, and to
what extent, the services provided by the petitioner's
wife were reimbursable.
remand to the CAB, the respondents argued that, because the
petitioner's wife did not fall within the definition of a
" health care provider" as used in RSA 281-A:2,
XII-b (2010), her services were not reimbursable.
See RSA 281-A:24 (2010). Although the petitioner
conceded that his wife was not a " doctor, chiropractor,
or rehabilitation provider" as listed in RSA 281-A:2,
XII-b, he asserted that her services were, nonetheless,
reimbursable. (Quotation omitted.) The petitioner again
sought reimbursement at the rate of $15 per hour for 16 hours
per day between August 25, 2010, and June 4, 2012. The
respondents did not challenge the hourly rate; however, they
argued that the request for reimbursement for 16 hours per
day was unreasonable.
first concluded that the petitioner was entitled to
reimbursement for his wife's services. The CAB explained
[O]ngoing home health services were required as prescribed by
[the petitioner's doctor], and [the petitioner's
wife] has adequately provided those services. ... RSA
281-A:2, XII-b does not exclude a spouse as a home health
care provider and should include a spouse as a home health
care provider because the workers['] compensation statute
is a remedial statute and a spouse is not excluded as a
provider. Additionally, there is nothing in the medical
record or ...