To get adequate treatment for your work-related injuries, it's important to understand the rules in your state. Since workers' comp is a state-run program, each state can have slight variations on things like choosing your own doctor when you get hurt at work. Some states require you to go to a doctor of your own choosing, and some want you to use the "company" doctor. In most cases, you can make a change after a certain period of time, so getting a good doctor to care for you will become a priority. Read on for some tips on what makes a good workers' comp doctor.
Why is it so important to have a good treating doctor?
Not only will you be counting on this doctor to provide you with excellent medical care, you will also be dependent on this doctor's opinions when it comes to having your claim approved and maintained. This doctor will be seeing you on an ongoing basis; constantly evaluating your injury and your progress. What this doctors says about your medical condition carries a great deal of weight, and the workers' comp insurance carrier will very likely be abiding the advice and suggestions provided about your need for continued treatment.
The role of the doctor
Here are a few tasks that you can expect your workers' comp treatment doctor to perform:
1. Diagnose and treat your injury or illness: The workers' comp insurance carrier requires a medical diagnosis (often this will be a code), and your claim cannot be approved without it. Your doctor will also be creating a treatment plan to address your injury, perform needed diagnostic testing, order physical therapy, prescribe medication and durable medical goods (braces, walkers, etc) and more.
2. Refer you to specialists: In many cases, your injury will require the services of other doctors, like an orthopedist or neurologist. Don't worry, if your treating doctor refers you , the insurance carrier will pay for it.
3. Evaluate the need for work restrictions: Your doctor is uniquely qualified to know how much time you need off from work as well as when you can be cleared to return to work.
4. Determine your level of disability: All injuries and the impact they have on the body are different, and your treating doctor will be able to give the workers' comp carrier a percentage amount of your disability. This is not the percent of your body that is injured, it is the percent of your injury that allows you to still work.
Speak with a workers' compensation attorney if you are having trouble getting your benefits approved.