Your employer cannot choose the doctor that you see for a workplace injury – with some important exceptions. If you need immediate medical treatment, sometimes it is easier to visit the doctor your employer or its insurance company suggests. But there is no requirement in Minnesota that you see a “work comp doctor” to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You may select another doctor if you want, even for emergencies.
Once a doctor treats you twice for the workplace injury, he or she is considered your primary care provider under the workers’ compensation laws. During the first 60 days after your treatment begins, you may change primary care providers once. This allows you the opportunity to find a doctor not recommended by the company if you wish. After 60 days has passed, you cannot change primary care providers without approval from the employer’s insurance company, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, or a workers’ compensation judge.
Some employers and insurance companies have chosen to participate in certified managed care plans. If your employer uses a certified managed care plan, you must see a doctor who is in the managed care network for your work injuries. If you see a doctor who is not in the network, the insurance company will not pay for your treatment. You can still select which in-network doctor to see; your employer cannot pick for you.
There are three exceptions to the managed care in-network requirement: (1) you visit a doctor who can treat your injury and who has treated you at least twice in the past year or has a history of treating you, (2) there is no appropriate in-network doctor near where you live and work, or (3) you need emergency medical care.
Finally, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may select a doctor to give you an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This exam may occur if you are denied benefits and then file a Claim Petition with the Department of Labor and Industry. The insurer gets to choose the doctor who gives the IME. If you refuse to be examined by that doctor or choose not to attend the IME, the insurer can suspend your benefits payments.
In short, you can choose your own doctor to treat your workplace injuries in most circumstances. You cannot change primary care doctors without approval after 60 days from your first treatment, you must get an in-network doctor most of the time if your employer has a certified managed care plan, and you cannot select the doctor who does your IME.
Do you need help getting medical benefits to treat your work-related injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.