Your Doctor’s Role in the Workers’ Compensation Process
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Your Doctor’s Role in the Workers’ Compensation Process

Doctors play an important role in the workers’ compensation process because they help injured employees heal and receive appropriate treatment. When you go to the doctor for your workplace injury, you can visit any medical provider you choose. After you visit this provider twice, he or she becomes your primary care physician. You can change PCPs once at the beginning of the workers’ comp process, but later on you will need approval of the insurance company to change.

Your Doctor’s Obligations

Your doctor and other medical professionals that you see will provide a diagnosis, treatment recommendations, prescriptions, and referrals to specialists if needed. If you have medical restrictions that prevent you from performing activities that you did before the injury, the doctor needs to evaluate those restrictions and explain them on a doctor’s note (Report of Work Ability). If you need to take time off work to recover, your doctor’s note should explain that you need time off and when you will be released to return to work.

You will need to visit your doctor regularly so that you can update your employer on your injury status. Your doctor should work with you to address your medical situation and help you heal to the point you can return to work, if possible. Your doctor will bill your medical expenses to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. If your workers’ comp benefits were initially denied, you can seek reimbursement for medical bills from the insurer if your claim is later successful.

Choosing the Right Doctor

Choosing the right doctor can be an important part of the workers’ compensation process. Having a doctor who works in your best interest, gives you clear diagnoses and treatment recommendations, and has experience with your type of injury is key. Further, your doctor may need to write reports or even give testimony about your injury and medical treatment. You need someone who can communicate well to explain his or her diagnosis and treatment.

Sometimes, your primary care provider before the injury will be a good choice of doctor because he or she knows you and is familiar with your file. Other times, you may need a specialist in your type of injury or just a different doctor who will be more effective in the workers’ comp process. In any situation, ensure that your doctor is licensed and credentialed to practice medicine or has a chiropractor’s license. Workers’ comp insurance does not cover most alternative medicine treatments.

If your employer uses a certified managed care plan, you will need to choose doctors who are part of the plan network. Otherwise, feel free to search for other doctors in your area, check your health insurance plan’s listings, or seek recommendations from family or your workers’ compensation attorney.

If you are navigating the workers’ compensation process on your own, get a trustworthy attorney on your side. 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.