The patient-physician relationship is sacred, and it’s important to trust your doctor. Unfortunately, injured workers aren’t always afforded the right to pick their own providers when they need coverage under workers’ comp.
Wisconsin is notably “worker-friendly,” meaning injured workers enjoy broad latitude when choosing their own medical providers. That freedom is not absolute, however. It’s smart to know the limitations before you end up in a situation that puts you at a disadvantage.
Injured workers get two shots at picking their own doctors
You can pick any doctor you like, so long as they are licensed to practice in Wisconsin, to treat a workplace injury.
If you want a second opinion or decide to change doctors, you even have that option — but only once. Any further changes in your treating sources have to be agreed upon by your employer and their insurance carrier — which may not be easy to obtain.
Emergencies and referrals that are part of a treatment chain don’t count
If your main treating source refers you to a specialist, that doctor does not count as a “second choice.” In fact, you can be referred to a series of specialists, if necessary. As long as the referrals all trace back to your chosen treating source, they do not count against you.
Similarly, emergency treatment doesn’t eat up any of your chances to pick your own doctor — although any doctor you see as part of your follow-up care might if they aren’t already part of your existing treatment chain.
Employers know that you have these options, but that won’t necessarily stop them from “guiding” you to a doctor they prefer. Regard overtures by your employer or their insurer to help you find a treating physician with suspicion. Company doctors usually have the company’s health most in mind.
Worker’s compensation claims get denied unfairly all the time. Don’t accept a denial without a fight. Speak to an Appleton attorney today.