Choosing a Doctor
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Assisting Injured Employees in Atlanta
If you have recently been hurt in a job-related accident, one of your top priorities is likely finding a doctor who can handle your medical needs. However, when dealing with a workers’ compensation issue, it is important to know that not all doctors are the same. Who you visit can have a significant impact on your ability to recover for your medical bills. Workers’ compensation attorney Julie A. Rice understands the intricacies of the rules for choosing a physician after a job-related accident in Atlanta. She has helped many injured individuals comprehensively evaluate their options for medical treatment. You can contact her through our online form or by calling (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664.
Choosing a Doctor Under Georgia Law
The flexibility given to people who are looking for a doctor for a workers’ compensation claim varies greatly by state. Some states allow employees to choose from a network of available providers, while others require you to use a list set forth by your employer. In Georgia, both options are possible, but they depend on the preference of your employer. It has three options for providing physician referrals and options to injured employees.
Your employer can elect to create a “traditional” panel of physicians from which you may choose, with a minimum of six available physicians. At least one of the doctors must be orthopedic, and an employee may request an exception from the Workers’ Compensation Board if none of the physicians on the panel is reasonably accessible to the employee. Additionally, under this option, an employee is entitled to one switch between doctors on the panel without seeking permission from the employer.
Alternatively, your employer may create a “conforming” panel of physicians that includes at least 10 available doctors for the employee to choose from. Like the traditional panel, the conforming panel must include an orthopedic doctor. Additionally, it must also include a chiropractor and a general surgeon. With this option, employees are again entitled to one switch between doctors on the panel without an employer’s permission.
Finally, the employer may elect to contract with the Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization, which provides a network of doctors who provide medical services for workers’ compensation claims. You will be provided with notice of eligible physicians in this network and how to schedule an appointment with them.
In order to ensure that your medical bills are covered, it is important that you carefully determine which of these options your employer has elected to pursue and verify that the physician you will be seeing is covered by that option. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you with this process.
Although you may wish to see your normal physician, who has assisted you with prior medical issues and injuries, this is often difficult to do in a workers’ compensation case. This is because Georgia laws provide for specific billing processes for dealing with job-related accidents, as well as the injuries arising from them. To ensure that these procedures and rules are followed, workers’ compensation physicians must be very familiar with these laws. They often choose to focus almost exclusively on such injuries, while regular physicians avoid wading into these complicated processes. You may certainly check to see if your regular physician is available to treat you, but in most instances that is not likely to be the case.
Explore Your Options After a Work Injury with an Atlanta Attorney
Medical expenses can add up quickly, and no employee wants to be caught off guard with unexpected bills from a physician who is not covered by your employer or insurance provider. For this reason, it is advisable that any individual who is hurt on the job consult with a workers’ compensation attorney about what physicians may be available to them and how to quickly seek out the treatment that they need. Work injury lawyer Julie A. Rice can help you determine whether an Atlanta employer has elected to provide a panel of physicians from which you may choose, or if they are a participant in a workers’ compensation network. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, contact us at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, or online. We serve employees in communities throughout Clayton, Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb, and DeKalb Counties, including Decatur, Marietta, and Lawrenceville.