Depending on your work injury, you may need to visit your doctors many times for care as you heal. At some point the workers’ compensation insurance company could start questioning your need for additional medical appointments.
While you are receiving treatment for a workplace injury, you are entitled to any medical procedures, treatment, services, medicines, or equipment that are reasonable and necessary to treat the symptoms of the injury. There is no number limit on the doctors’ appointments you can attend, although there are some limits on the number of specific kinds of treatments you can receive. For example, you can have acupuncture for a maximum of 2-3 times per week for 1-3 weeks, and fewer times after that for a maximum 12 weeks total. Many injured workers – especially if injured severely or with complicated symptoms – need many medical consultations to get appropriate treatment.
You will have a primary treating physician during your treatment. Usually this is a doctor who practices medicine in the area you need the most care. The primary treating physician is not always the same person as your primary care physician who you may see for yearly physicals and the like. For example, if you have a back injury, you may have a back surgeon as your primary treating physician.
You have the right to choose your primary medical provider. But after the first 60 days of treatment, it is not easy to change your doctor. You would need consent of the insurance company, a workers’ compensation judge, or the Department of Labor and Industry. However, you can visit specialists for particular symptoms of your injury that your primary treating physician does not handle. Also, you can get a second opinion from another doctor before you agree to surgery.
The insurance company can and often will argue that your many doctors’ visits are not necessary. If you genuinely need to attend repeated appointments for follow-up care or treatment, ask your doctors to carefully document the visits for the insurance company. If you receive a referral to a specialist or want a second opinion regarding surgery, get the referral or request in writing.
You may need a lawyer to help you get the reasonable and necessary treatment you need. Your lawyer can make the case to a workers’ compensation judge that your many medical appointments are for further, required treatment.
Need help getting workers’ compensation medical benefits for your 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.