|If Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, it will be paid for, partly, with workers’ compensation insurance. A partly torn ulnar collateral ligament like Harvey’s is considered a workplace injury, just as if he were a truck driver hurt on a loading dock.|
The basic agreement between major league owners and players requires that teams pay the cost of injuries.
“The employer gets to recover, as an offset, any workers’ compensation recovery that is available,” said Rob Manfred, an executive vice president of Major League Baseball. “And the club is on the hook for what workers’ compensation doesn’t pay.”
At some point after an operation or procedure, a player signs a form that allows his team to pursue the insurance claim. So if workers’ compensation did not pay the full cost of Derek Jeter’s surgery for a fractured left ankle last year, the Yankees made up the difference — essentially the cost of doing business.
“The player never sees a bill,” Manfred said.
Another factor is that the cost of Tommy John surgery is not uniform. Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, might charge more than the Hospital for Special Surgery, where the Mets’ medical director, David Altchek, is an orthopedic surgeon. (Andrews prescribed a six- to eight-week rehabilitation program for Harvey earlier this week that would precede any decision to operate.)
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