Choosing A Doctor: 3 Things To Know

When you are injured at work, it's important to get the right medical care. California's workers' compensation law has specific rules, however, about which doctor you may see and when you may switch doctors. Here are three important things to know about finding a doctor for your workers' comp injury:

Employers have some say in which doctor you see.

When you are injured at work, your employer provides your medical care, typically through your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Because they are paying for the care, they have some say in what doctor you may see for your injury or illness. In California, most employers have contracted with a medical provider network (MPN) or a health care organization (HCO), and you will have to see a doctor in one of those networks.

You may be able to change your doctor.

If you are not happy with the care you receive from your initial doctor, California law does allow you to change doctors. If your employer has an MPN or HCO, you will probably need to pick your new doctor from this same group.

If you are still unsatisfied, you may be able to choose your own doctor outside of an HCO after a waiting period. If your employer is in the MPN system, you may be able to request an "independent medical review" from an outside doctor. If your employer has neither an HCO, nor an MPN, you may be able to choose your own doctor after 30 days.

Under some circumstances, you can see your primary care doctor.

If you have your own doctor, you would probably prefer seeing your doctor over one you have never met. But that option may only be available to you when:

  • You have health insurance for non-work injuries and illnesses
  • Your doctor agreed to treat you for work injuries before your accident happened
  • Before your accident, you gave your employer notice in writing that you would be using your personal doctor for workplace injuries

If you did not follow these steps, you will probably have to see the doctor in the medical provider network your employer has set up for your initial visit.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have questions about your right to see a doctor, call the Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez at our Van Nuys office at 818-646-6935 to speak with a knowledgeable workers' comp lawyer. We offer free attorney consultations and we welcome walk-ins. You can also contact us online.

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