THIRD QUARTER 2019
By: Bridget A. Zeier
Is mileage compensable for travel to and from necessary medical care?
Yes, mileage is owed when treatment is received outside the county of employment.
In Indiana, the employer is required to furnish, free of charge to the employee, a treating physician for the treatment of the work injury. If the treating physician is located within the same county as the employee’s place of employment, mileage is not owed to the employee. However, when an employee is requested or required by the employer to submit to treatment outside the county of employment, the employer shall also pay the reasonable expense of travel, food, and lodging necessary during the travel. I.C. 22-3-3-4(a). Currently, mileage is paid at $0.38 per mile.
Additionally, when the Board orders an Independent Medical Examination pursuant to I.C. 22-3-3-7(c), the employer must pay for mileage to and from the employment, regardless of whether the examination will take place within the county of employment. This mileage must be paid in advance of the appointment.
As indicated in I.C. 22-3-3-4(a), in addition to mileage, there may also be other travel expenses involved if an employee is required to travel outside the county of employment. If the appointment is not able to be a day trip for the employee, the employer must also pay for reasonable lodging accommodations as well as a stipend for meals. These expenses should not exceed the amount at the time of the travel by the state to its employees under the state travel policies and procedures established by the department of administration and approved by the state budget agency. I.C. 22-3-3-4(a). The standard lodging rate for the state is $94.00 per night. However, certain areas of the state have a higher nightly reimbursement rate as indicated in the table below.
Currently the state’s Overnight Per Diem/Subsistence is $26.00 per day for In-state travel and $32.00 per day for out-of-state travel. No subsistence is owed for same-day travel and can only be claimed for overnight travel.
When mileage will be owed to an employee for travel to and from medical appointments, it is recommended that a procedure be put in place at the outset of treatment for the employee to submit mileage and a regular schedule for mileage to be paid. Typically, mileage is paid after the employee attends the appointment. However, there are instances where an employee is off work, receiving TTD payments, and he or she indicates that they are unable to afford the gas to attend appointments unless they are paid mileage ahead of time. In those instances, to avoid a delay in an employee receiving medical treatment and reaching maximum medical improvement, you may want to send a mileage check prior to an appointment to ensure that the employee attends.
When an Independent Medical Examination is ordered by the Board and the employer is provided with the doctor’s address, it is recommended that the mileage check (and a two week advance of TTD benefits, if applicable) be mailed out to the employee right away.
Workers’ Compensation Mileage Rates https://secure.in.gov/wcb/files/MILEAGE%20RATES.pdf
Indiana Department of Administration https://www.in.gov/idoa/2459.htm
Travel, Moving and Interviewing Policies for the State of Indiana https://secure.in.gov/sba/files/fmc_2017-2.pdf