Because Michigan is a No-Fault state, certain benefits are due the auto accident victim regardless of who was at fault. Included, are replacement services and attendant care. Chances are unless you are an attorney that actively represents people in these type of cases, you don’t have the slightest idea what the difference is. This would most likely include the physician you are treating with. If you are reading this post you, a child, a family member, or a loved one has most likely been in a car wreck and suffered an injury involving some type of motor vehicle. You are hopefully treating with a competent caring physician. Your primary care physician, a general practitioner, or an internist, or a family practice doctor, your gynecologist, or perhaps a chiropractor, may or may not understand your legal rights, or may or may not be interested or motivated enough to assist you to get the benefits that you deserve and need. This would include signing a prescription for the care that you need, that you, or your attorney can forward on to your auto insurance company for payment.
This could include “replacement services”, at a rate of $20/day. Or this could include “attendant care services” at a rate of $13/hour on up, depending on the degree of skill needed in the care. The monetary difference in the type of care is significant.
Therefore, it is important that the physician get the prescription right.
So, what exactly is the difference between replacement services and attendant care services?
As a rule of thumb, attendant care services are more “physical”, more heavier duty- more like the services that you would need from a nurse, or aid at a hospital, or acute rehabilitation facility, etc…. Think activities of daily living like assistance bathing or showering, toileting, wound care ( dressing changes, etc…), physical assistance like lifting/carrying, etc.. because you cannot do so for yourself. Things that a home health aide would do for you. Fortunately, Michigan does compensate family members for providing these home health aide services. Other physical assistance would require assistance walking ( for example if you have suffered and amputation as a result of being injured in an auto accident, you would require assistance walking until you got comfortable with your prosthetic). In addition to purely assistance with physical activities, certain mental, behavioral, or organizational assistance is considered part of attendant care services. Think brain injury, be it direct trauma suffered in an auto accident, such as a closed head injury, or actual piercing of the skull, or hypoxic-anoxic insult suffered as a result of shock. These services would include monitoring and supervision, administering medication, etc…..
Replacement services are lighter assistance, housekeeping duties such as laundry, meal preparation, etc…..
There is much confusion on the medical end of things as to what is what and which is which. And that confusion can lead to mistakes that cost you thousands if the prescription is written wrong, or can destroy your lawsuit for your No Fault Benefits. Communication with the physician, either by you if you feel confident in your relationship with your doctor and your ability to articulate your needs, or by your attorney, is key to laying the proper foundation and groundwork to getting you the benefits you need to survive your automobile accident.
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