Workers’ compensation covers benefits for your employees if and when they are injured on the job. It can provide flexible compensation for things like doctors’ appointments, surgeries, physical therapy, medications and other treatment.
When it comes to treating work-related injuries, selecting the right doctor is paramount and can make all the difference when it comes to helping an employee return to work quickly. However, there are a number of considerations and specific guidance when it comes to selecting a medical provider for workers’ compensation injuries.
Selecting the Treating Doctor in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When it comes to connecting an injured employee to the care they need following a covered injury, it’s important to remember that every state is different and has unique rules. Failing to follow these rules can lead to an insurance company’s refusal to pay for treatment.
When it comes to injuries covered by workers’ compensation, all states allow employees to receive emergency care from the nearest facilities when needed.
Outside of that, rules related to choosing a medical provider vary by state and generally fall under one of three options:
Each of these options has its own set of unique benefits and drawbacks. Employer-selected treating doctors can save organizations money and simplify the workers’ compensation claims process. However, when an employer limits or chooses what doctor an employee is allowed to use for work-related injuries, employees may feel as if there is a conflict of interest at play. It’s not uncommon for injured employees to worry that employer-selected treating doctors—whether they are chosen directly by an employer or by the employee via an approved list—don’t have their best interests in mind. In other words—whether justified or not—an employee may be concerned that an employer-selected doctor is more focused on saving the employer money and not on treating their injury.
For employee-selected treating doctors, conflicts of interest are no longer a concern. However, the employee-selected doctor may not be familiar with the workers’ compensation process, which can complicate treatment and extend the return-to-work process.
Finding the Right Treating Doctor
Regardless of whether or not treating doctors are chosen by employers or employees, selecting the right care provider is crucial. The following are some considerations employees and employers should keep in mind:
Again, rules related to choosing a medical provider for workers’ compensation injuries are complicated and vary from state to state. To navigate these requirements effectively, be sure to work alongside qualified insurance and legal professionals.
Witkemper Insurance Group and Financial Services provides choice, flexibility, expertise, superior protection. Contact us for a quote or guidance for your business.