The relationship between a patient and their doctor is nearly sacrosanct. This is why most people prefer to pick their own physicians, no matter what the circumstances.
What happens, however, when you’re injured at work and file a workers’ compensation claim? Since you’re not footing the bill for the treatment related to your injuries, do you still retain the right to pick your own doctor?
In Ohio, the answer isn’t exactly straightforward. Here’s what you need to know:
- You can choose any doctor you like for initial treatment. You do not, for example, have to go to a specific emergency room or physician for urgent care immediately following your injury. That allows you to seek immediate care without restrictions.
- You have limited choices following the initial visits. You must choose a medical provider certified by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for all subsequent medical care following your injuries. If you do not, you have to pay for the medical care yourself.
- Your employer can give you a list of BWC doctors they prefer, but you don’t have to use one. Don’t be surprised if your boss hands you a list of doctors that they encourage injured workers to use — but be wary. Some (or all) of those doctors may be “company-friendly,” to the detriment of their injured patients.
- You can change doctors at least once. If you’ve started with a BWC doctor and find your care lacking, it is possible to change physicians. You need to fill out some specific forms and go through the proper steps, but you shouldn’t let that stop you.
If your employer is pushing you toward a specific physician or you don’t think you’re being treated fairly, it may be time to seek some legal assistance with your workers’ comp claim.