Designate Your Treating Physician Before You Suffer a Workers' Compensation Injury

Designate Your Treating Physician Before You Suffer a Workers' Compensation Injury

Seldom do workers in California consider if they have a legal right to select their treating physician before they suffer a Workers' Compensation injury.

Although this may necessarily be from a list of physicians provided by their employer (presuming that the employer is part of a “Medical Provider Network”), by comparing notes with fellow workers – some of whom may have already suffered a Workers' Compensation injury – a worker should be able to find a physician close to his/her home and with whom he/she may have some prior experience and perhaps even some compatibility.

As we go to press, I can think of no reason why a prospective pre-designated treating physician would not grant a brief interview to an employee who is looking for a pre-designated physician. This may not seem very important, in the short term, prior to suffering a Workers' Compensation injury, but without the “pre-designation”, the employee will be relegated to a physician chosen by the employer (usually some unnamed or generic physician at a local industrial clinic with whom the employer or the insurance administrator has an existing contract). Because of this contractual relationship between the employer and the industrial clinic, the injured worker may feel (rightly or wrongly) that the physician assigned to his/her case is more interested in maintaining a good relationship with the employer than he or she might be in providing quality care to the injured worker or that the clinic might return the employee to work before he/she has fully recuperated or is able to do modified work.

When considering whether to pre-designate a treating physician, an ounce of preparation can be worth a pound of cure.

*The above article will be published in the May 2013 edition of The Magazine of Santa Clarita ~ All rights reserved.

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