There are times when an insurance company assigns you a doctor who you don’t like. We will help you navigate your options and find out the best ways to approach this problem.
When you have been hurt at work, you want to seek care from a competent and qualified professional. In Iowa, your employer has to pay for treatment for your work related injury. However, the employer also gets to tell you which doctors to go to for your injury.
Who Chooses My Initial Workers’ Comp Doctor?
The rules are often complicated and vary from state to state. If you don’t follow your state’s rules, the insurance company may choose to deny your compensation claim. In Iowa, your employer chooses your doctor and pays for the medical treatment for your injury.
Workers comp covers all reasonable medical treatments for a work-related injury or illness. This includes medications, doctor appointments, physical therapy, surgeries, and other treatments. The doctor who treats you will play an important role in your case by giving you opinions on what to expect when filing for compensation.
Can I Switch Workers’ Compensation Doctors
If you are not satisfied with the care you are receiving from the employer-chosen physician or disagree with the doctor’s assessment of your injuries, you should first inform your employer or its workers’ comp insurer. You may be assigned a new provider or negotiate another agreement for managing your care. If you cannot reach a satisfactory agreement, however, you can apply to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner requesting alternate medical care. The WCC will conduct a hearing (either in person or via conference call) to determine the best resolution for your dispute.
In order to succeed in a petition for alternate medical care, you must prove that the care that the employer is providing you is unreasonable or that they have abandoned your care by not providing it in a timely manner. This is a difficult standard and many injured workers are unsuccessful in these actions, especially without the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.
How to Request A New Doctor
If Your Employer Is Delaying Treatment
Iowa statute provides that this treatment “must be offered promptly and be reasonably suited to treat the injury without undue inconvenience to the employee.” Your employer cannot postpone assigning you a treatment provider to the detriment of your recovery while it delays evaluation of your claim.
Your Care Is Inappropriate
You may be entitled to change your treating physician or specialist if you are not being treated at an appropriate level, if you are denied the ability to see a specialist, or if your employer-chosen care providers are unreasonably inconvenient (e.g., located very far from your home or unavailable to treat you in a reasonable period of time), you may be able to pursue treatment from a different doctor.
Your Employer is Interfering With Your Care
Although your employer has the right to choose the doctor that you see, they must follow the treatment recommendations of that doctor. They do not have the right to try to influence or ignore the treatment recommendations of the doctor that they chose. They also don’t have the right in most cases to move you to another doctor if they don’t like the recommendations of the initial doctor they chose.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, and feel that you are not getting the medical treatment that you need, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the medical care, benefits, and compensation you deserve. Contact the Platt Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 515-278-1522 or goto our website at www.nickplattlaw.com.