Can I choose my Own Doctor?
Yes, but hurry. The recent change to the Workers’ Compensation Act takes away the right to choose your own doctor if you treat with the company choice for more than 6 months or if you have a surgery.
Many times when people are hurt on the job, they are sent to the company doctor. What people don’t realize is that they are entitled by law to choose their own physician and the company has to pay for it. Companies will often ask you to sign a form saying that you accept the company doctor as your choice. Signing this form is a mistake. People are often fooled into thinking that they will have to sign the form to get treatment. This is simply not true. If the company wants you treated by the doctor of their choice, they have to pay for it and you don’t have to accept that doctor as your choice of physician. You can reserve your right to go to your choice of physician as long as the treatment provided is reasonably and medically necessary.
Companies will often also pay a nurse to go along with you to your doctor visits. These are called “nurse case managers.” You have the right to seek treatment by a doctor without interference in your so-called “management” by a company paid nurse. If you have been asked to sign a choice of physician form or if a nurse has been going along to your appointments with you, you should consult an attorney immediately to determine what your rights are and to help make sure that you get the best available medical treatment paid for by the company.
Rogen K. Chhabra