1. The purpose of this section is to restore the injured person as soon as possible and as nearly as possible to a condition of self-support and maintenance as an able-bodied worker by physical rehabilitation. The provisions of this chapter relating to physical rehabilitation shall be under the control of and administered by the director of the division of workers' compensation. The division of workers' compensation shall make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section, subject to the approval of the labor and industrial relations commission of Missouri.
2. The division of workers' compensation shall continuously study the problems of physical rehabilitation and shall investigate all rehabilitation facilities, both private and public, and upon such investigation shall approve as qualified all such facilities, institutions and physicians as are capable of rendering competent physical rehabilitation service for seriously injured industrial workers. Rehabilitation facilities shall include medical, surgical, hospital and physical restoration services. No facility or institution shall be considered as qualified unless it is equipped to provide physical rehabilitation services for persons suffering either from some specialized type of disability or general type of disability within the field of industrial injury, and unless such facility or institution is operated under the supervision of a physician qualified to render physical rehabilitation service and is staffed with trained and qualified personnel and has received a certificate of qualification from the division of workers' compensation. No physician shall be considered as qualified unless he has had the experience prescribed by the division.
3. In any case of serious injury involving disability following the period of rendition of medical aid as provided by subsection 1 of section 287.140 , where physical rehabilitation is necessary if the employer or insurer shall offer such physical rehabilitation to the injured employee and such physical rehabilitation is accepted by the employee, then in such case the director of the division of workers' compensation shall be immediately notified thereof and thereupon enter his approval to such effect, and the director of the division of workers' compensation shall requisition the payment of forty dollars per week benefit from the second injury fund in the state treasury to be paid to the employee while he is actually being rehabilitated, and shall immediately notify the state treasurer thereof by furnishing him with a copy of his order. But in no case shall the period of physical rehabilitation extend beyond twenty weeks except in unusual cases and then only by a special order of the division of workers' compensation for such additional period as the division may authorize.
4. In all cases where physical rehabilitation is offered and accepted or ordered by the division, the employer or insurer shall have the right to select any physician, facility, or institution that has been found qualified by the division of workers' compensation as above set forth.
5. If the parties disagree as to such physical rehabilitation treatment, where such treatment appears necessary, then either the employee, the employer, or insurer may file a request with the division of workers' compensation for an order for physical rehabilitation and the director of the division shall hear the parties within ten days after the filing of the request. The director of the division shall forthwith notify the parties of the time and place of the hearing, and the hearing shall be held at a place to be designated at the discretion of the division. The director of the division may conduct such hearing or he may direct one of the administrative law judges to conduct same. Such hearing shall be informal in all respects. The director of the division shall, after considering all evidence at such hearing, within ten days make his order in the matter, either denying such request or ordering the employer or insurer within a reasonable time, to furnish physical rehabilitation, and ordering the employee to accept the same, at the expense of the employer or insurer. When the order requires physical rehabilitation, it shall also include an order to requisition the payment of forty dollars per week out of the second injury fund in the state treasury to the injured employee during such time as such employee is actually receiving physical rehabilitation.
6. In every case where physical rehabilitation shall be ordered, the director of the division may, in his discretion, order the employer or insurer to furnish transportation to the injured employee to such rehabilitation facility or institution.
7. As used in this section, the term “physical rehabilitation” shall be deemed to include medical, surgical and hospital treatment in the same respect as required to be furnished under subsection 1 of section 287.140 .
8. An appeal from any order of the division of workers' compensation hereby created to the appellate court may be taken and governed in all respects in the same manner as appeals in workers' compensation cases generally under section 287.495 .
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