MCFADDEN, P. J., BRANCH and BETHEL, JJ.
McFadden, Presiding Judge.
Kendrick appeals from the affirmance of a board of
workers' compensation decision denying his claim for
benefits. Kendrick argues that the board erred in failing to
find that the employer's defense is time-barred by OCGA
§ 34-9-221 (h), which requires that notices to
controvert be filed "within 60 days of the due date of
the first payment of compensation." But that argument
rests on the proposition that a prescription card the
employer gave Kendrick constitutes "compensation"
under that provision. It does not. Kendrick also argues that
the board erred in finding that his injury did not arise out
of and in the course of his employment and in finding that he
was not a continuous employee at the time of the injury.
Because Kendrick was traveling to a motel near the job site
when he was injured, those contentions are also without
merit. So we affirm.
Facts and procedural posture.
appeal from a workers' compensation award, we review
findings of fact under the "any evidence" standard.
McAdoo v. MARTA, 326 Ga.App. 788, 792 (1) (755
S.E.2d 278) (2014).
In reviewing a workers' compensation award, this [c]ourt
must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the
party prevailing before the appellate division. The findings
of the State Board of Workers' Compensation, when
supported by any evidence, are conclusive and binding, and
neither the superior court nor this [c]ourt may substitute
itself as a factfinding body in lieu of the State Board.
Bell v. Gilder Timber Co., 337 Ga.App. 47 (785
S.E.2d 682) (2016) (citation omitted).
viewed, the evidence shows that Charles Kendrick was employed
by SRA Track, Inc.,  to help repair railroad tracks in various
states, including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina
and Virginia. At approximately 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January
13, 2013, Kendrick left his home in Georgia on his motorcycle
to drive to a motel in Alabama, where he planned to spend the
night before beginning work on an SRA job the next morning.
While traveling to the motel, Kendrick was injured in a
motorcycle accident. After the accident, Kendrick received a
prescription card from SRA's insurer, which he used
through December 2013 to help pay for pain medications.
January 28, 2014, Kendrick filed a workers' compensation
claim for temporary disability benefits. On March 3, 2014,
SRA and its insurer filed a notice to controvert the claim on
the ground that the accident did not arise out of and in the
course of Kendrick's employment. A hearing on the claim
was held before an administrative law judge on July 24, 2015.
Thereafter, on September 17, 2015, the ALJ issued an order
denying Kendrick's claim for benefits, finding that the
accident did not arise out of and in the course of
Kendrick's employment and that he was not a continuous
employee at the time he was injured. Kendrick appealed to the
Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers'
Compensation, which adopted the ALJ's order as its award.
Kendrick then appealed to the superior court, which held a
hearing but did not enter an order disposing of the appeal
within 20 days of the hearing, thereby resulting in the
board's award being affirmed by operation of law. See
OCGA § 34-9-105 (b) Kendrick's application for
discretionary appeal to this court was granted, and this
OCGA § 34-9-221 (h).
argues that the superior court erred in failing to find that
SRA was time-barred by OCGA § 34-9-221 (h) from
controverting his claim on the ground that the accident did
not arise out of or in the course of his employment. The
argument is without merit because that code section does not
apply to the facts of this case.
§ 34-9-221 (h) provides: "Where
compensation is being paid without an award, the
right to compensation shall not be controverted except upon
the grounds of change in condition or newly discovered
evidence unless notice to controvert is filed with the board
within 60 days of the due date of first payment of
compensation." (Emphasis supplied.) Kendrick contends
that the prescription card from SRA's insurer, which he
used to pay for medications, constituted compensation under
OCGA § 34-9-221 (h). Therefore, he argues, SRA was
required to file a notice to controvert the workers'
compensation claim within 60 days of the first payment with
that card, but SRA failed to timely file such notice and it
was thus barred from controverting the claim on any ground
other than change in condition or newly discovered evidence.
contrary to Kendrick's contention, the prescription card
used to pay for medications was not compensation under that
code section, which governs only compensation for income
benefits, not medical benefits. See generally Jackson v.
Georgia Bldg. Auth., 144 Ga.App. 275, 276 (241 S.E.2d
54) (1977) (in construing another statute, recognizing
distinction between income benefits for lost wages and
medical benefits in workers' compensation claims). As our
Supreme Court has held, "OCGA § 34-9-221 governs
the procedure for employers and insurers to follow in paying
income benefits to employees and disputing the
employees' claims." Meredith v. Atlanta
Intermodal Rail Svcs., 274 Ga. 809, 810 (561 S.E.2d 67)
(2002) (emphasis supplied). Indeed, it is apparent from the
plain language of OCGA § 34-9-221 that it refers only to
compensation for income benefits, while medical benefits are
not mentioned anywhere in that code section. Consistent with
that plain language, in a case that turned on the question of
what is included in the term "compensation" under
OCGA § 34-9-221 (h), this court relied on a prior
holding "that the term 'compensation' [in that
statute] encompasses all of the accrued income
benefits[.]" Cartersville Ready Mix Co. v.
Hamby, 224 Ga.App. 116, 118 (2) (479 S.E.2d 767) (1996)
(citation, punctuation, and emphasis omitted). As our Supreme
Court has further explained, "the state board [of
workers' compensation] has interpreted subsection (h) [of
OCGA § 34-9-221] as applying only when income
benefits are being paid, and the General Assembly has
failed to overturn either the court decisions or agency rules
despite frequent amendments to the statute."
Meredith, supra at 813 (emphasis supplied).
instant case, SRA did not pay income benefits for lost wages
to Kendrick. See OCGA § 34-9-260 (method for computing
compensation generally based on average weekly wages).
Because the prescription card was not an income benefit, it
did not constitute compensation under OCGA § 34-9-221
(h). Accordingly, that code section does not apply to this
case and ...