What do I need to know about FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)?

1. What is the Family Medical Leave Act as it applies to my foot health care?
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to: 

Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
 • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth; 
 • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year    of placement; 
 • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; 
 • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
 • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;”

2. How do I request FMLA?
Contact your Human Resources representative or your direct supervisor to obtain necessary paperwork for the FMLA process.

3. I have my paperwork now what I do with it?
Please provide your paperwork by dropping it off in person or faxing it to our office (512) 328-8903. Dr. Thomajan and his office staff reserve 48 hours for FMLA turnaround. This provides our staff with sufficient time to reference your chart, answer all questions thoroughly, and provide your medical records as well. Our office staff will send your paperwork directly to the requesting entity. For quality control purposes we do not however provide this paperwork back to the patient.

4. How long will I be out of work?
Dr. Thomajan will determine the proper amount of time excused from work. This can range anywhere from three weeks to eight weeks. Your HR department may request additional FMLA paperwork numerous times to gauge your recovery.

5. I need to get back to work now what?
Dr. Thomajan will determine when you may return to work. An assessment of your job description will be performed in conjunction with your ability to perform those tasks and at what rate (i.e.…full time versus part-time).

6. My boss/HR say I need a FCE or MMI test; what is this and why?
FCE (functional capacity evaluation) and MMI (maximum medical improvement) are synonymous with one another. Both tests are referred out to a physician that is certified and credentialed to determine how well you have improved since day one of your chief complaint. Armed with this information the physician will report back to Dr. Thomajan and your representative what level of improvement you have and how that incorporates with your job description. From this point we will all have a better understanding of how well you will be expected to perform your job duties.

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists