Today’s blog addresses something that we see happen a lot with clients, which is that you are choosing the wrong doctor for your work injury.
Choosing a Doctor for your Work Injury – Designated Physician List in Colorado
If you are injured on the job in Colorado, you give your employer notice of your on-the-job injury. Absent a few exceptions, your employer is required to give you a piece of paper called a “Designated Physician List.” The Designated Physician List is a list comprised of typically four doctors. In general, you are supposed to be given a list of four doctors and at least two of them must have different ownership. You could go to see Concentra at Concentra Location A and Concentra Location B. There must be some change or difference in ownership between the four doctors. You are required to pick one of those doctors. If you are not happy, you can switch to a different doctor on that list within 90 days of the injury.
What Happens After the Ninety Days Have Passed
Most injured workers do not really believe that they must speak with an attorney and even the ones that do, very few of them think that they need to before the 90 days have passed. Often, when we see the clients, the 90 days have passed, and we are not even able to help them exercise their rights under the Designated Physician List to switch to a better doctor.
Treatment of Injured Workers is Significantly Lacking
There are some clinics, which I am not afraid to say, suck when it comes to treating injured workers. Some clinics are awful when it comes to treating injured workers. For example, you will never see the same doctor, and you are lucky if you even see a doctor. You will typically see physician’s assistants, and it is this rotating who-am-I-going-to-see, etc. The continuity of care is really lacking, and that can make a big difference.
The Way the Law is Supposed to Be for Injured Workers
The above outlines the way the law is supposed to be, but in practice, it is very different. In practice, what happens is that our injured workers get injured, they let their supervisor know and they are told to go here, go there, etc. They ultimately just go to that place because they do not know any better and it is very difficult for most injured workers to (a) Know their rights and (b) To assert their rights because they do not want to be financially responsible for their care. They will say that they did not know their rights and were just told to go there. Unfortunately, not knowing your rights is not an excuse under the law. Hopefully, you are one of those rare individuals who are somehow watching this video before you get injured.
We See The Three Mistakes in Choosing a Doctor for your Work Injury
1. Employers are not following this rule.
They are not giving the injured worker the list of doctors. That is a big mistake, a big error. If that is happening to you, you need to contact an attorney right away to be able to preserve your rights. If you do not take that action, you will start treating with the clinic that you are told to go to. Once it is brought to everybody’s attention that the employer did not follow the rule, the insurance company says they waived their right to select their own doctor. If you are not given a choice, then you have the right to select your own doctor. Insurance companies will say no, you have waived your right.
2. The injured worker is given the list, but they choose what I call these occupational docs in a box outfit like Concentra, etc., where you are basically a McDonald’s hamburger.
Every now and then a McDonald’s hamburger is nice, but you are in an assembly line. You are lucky if you see the same person visit after visit after visit. These outfits do not advocate for the injured worker. They know where their bread is buttered, and it is with the insurance companies. Uniformly, the treatment is not satisfactory, at least with our clients. Some of these occupational docs in a box are just awful. Good care is important. Good medical care makes a huge difference right away.
3. The third mistake is the injured worker selects a physician and then they do not exercise their rights within 90 days to switch physicians.
What We Can Do for You When Choosing a Doctor for your Work Injury
We can review your doctor choices with you. We can tell you who are the good doctors on your list. We can even advise you if they have given you a form that does not comply with the law. We can fight to get you treated with a doctor of your choice or a good occupational doctor. A good doctor is a patient advocate who will listen to you and fight for their recommendations and not be dictated to by the insurance company.
The Importance of Medical Care
As always, in workers’ compensation, every case is different. The number one most important benefit in workers’ compensation is medical care because it is not limited. Unlike so many other workers’ compensation benefits, medical care is not limited. Medical care is the only benefit that has the possibility of getting you back to 100 percent. That is why at Kaplan Morrell we focus so much on medical care. We focus on getting our clients the medical care they deserve with doctors who are seasoned, experienced, and caring professionals.
Kaplan Morrell Helps Injured and Disabled Workers Throughout Colorado
As always, if you or anyone that you know is injured in Colorado, let them know about Kaplan Morrell. We are a law firm that has been helping injured and disabled workers since 1997. All our attorneys primarily practice workers’ compensation and that is almost all that we do. This makes us good at helping you. En Español
The Attorneys at Kaplan Morrell Fight Hard for Our Clients
Hopefully, you will never be injured, and you’ll never need us but, in case you are, we would be happy and thrilled to help you. Please give us a call at (970) 356-9898. You may also visit us on our website at www.kaplanmorrell.com As always, the initial consultation is completely free.