What Can I Do If I Don't Like My Workers' Comp Doctor?
Your relationship with your doctor is very important. After all, you have to be able to trust this person with your health! Unfortunately, when you've been injured on the job, you may not have a lot of choices about which doctor you have to see. In many jurisdictions, workers are presented with a list of doctors whom they can visit for their work-related injuries. That limits your freedom of choice quite a bit.
So, what happens when you don't want your current workers' compensation doctor to continue treating you? Here's what you should know.
You need to investigate the rules in your state.
There are two questions that you need to ask right away:
- How often are you permitted to change doctors?
- When are you permitted to change your doctor?
The answers can vary quite a bit, depending on where you live. Some states permit injured workers to change their workers' comp doctor as often as they want, while others only permit one change. Some states also allow workers to transfer their care at will (after they notify the insurance company), while others require workers to first finish out a trial period with a physician. Once you know your state's rules, you can make an educated decision about what to do next.
You may need to build a case for a change.
In many cases, an injured worker's desire to change doctors comes from the fact that their workers' comp doctor simply isn't providing adequate or appropriate care. If that's your situation, you shouldn't be bound by any kind of arbitrary rules — but you may need to provide evidence that your care is less than satisfactory to either the insurance company or the state's board.
Consider taking the following steps:
- Get a notebook and take notes about exactly what problems you are having at your doctor's office. Be specific. Are your records getting lost? Does the doctor seem unprepared during your exam, or does he/she confuse you with another patient? Is the doctor even doing a thorough exam?
- Take a friend or relative with you to your appointments. Having a witness who can verify what you are saying about your treatment may be important if the insurance company won't budge.
- Build your own medical file. If your concern is the doctor's professionalism, don't trust him or her to keep your medical records complete. Before something important — like test results — go missing, insist that you be given copies of everything in your file as you go.
Finally, a workers' compensation attorney may be able to assist you with the process or file the complaint for you if you don't seem to be getting anywhere on your own. To learn more, talk to firms like Bennett Law Firm PC.