Can I Choose My Own Doctor When I Am Injured on The Job?
Under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation law, each employee has the right to treat with his or her choice of medical provider. The doctor must be willing to accept payments under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation fee schedule. Maryland has a fee schedule of how much a doctor can charge the insurance company for each type of service. If the doctor agrees to see you after you have informed him that you were injured on the job, he must accept as payment in full the amount authorized under the fee schedule. If the Doctor is not willing to accept the payments authorized by the Maryland fee schedule, then either you will have to pay him privately or go somewhere else.
In addition, the employer has the right to have the injured employee seen by one of their doctors in order to determine if the treatment that the injured worker is receiving from the doctor the employee is treating with, is necessary and reasonable, however, they have no right to demand that you treat with the doctor chosen by the insurance company.
It is not unusual for the insurance company to try and limit the amount of treatment you receive or refuse to authorize a visit to a doctor of your choice. Most doctors’ offices will not see you without a prior authorization from the insurance company, although prior authorization is not required by Maryland Workers Compensation law. Doctors fear they will not get paid unless there is an authorization. While this is not required by law, doctors do not want to have to go to court in order to be paid. Therefore, while you have a right to choose your own doctor, it does not necessarily follow that the doctor of your choice will agree to see you. Many doctors do not like to get involved in litigation and therefore refuse to see workers compensation patients.
Lawyers who handle workers’ compensation cases on a regular basis have a list of doctors that do not require a pre- authorization before they will see you. In addition these doctors are familiar with the workers compensation fee schedule and agreeable to accept it as payment in full.
Even after you receive a permanent injury award you still have a right to go back to the doctor of your choice for additional treatment for the rest of your life as long as the treatment is related to the accident and the medical portion of your case has not been settled. While the right to causally related treatment exists for the rest of your life, the insurance company will make every effort to deny such treatment, especially after you have received your permanent injury award arguing the treatment is not related to the original accident.
A workers Compensation lawyer is essential to:
- Help get the insurance company to provide a written authorization for your doctor of choice
- Help find doctors who are willing to treat Workers Compensation injured parties
- Obtain Doctors who will accept the Maryland fee schedule.
- Explain to your doctor how to get paid in a Workers Compensation case.
- Request hearings at the Workers Compensation Commission when the insurance company refuses to authorize treatment with the Doctor of your choice or refuses to authorize requested treatment.
For more info on Maryland Workers Comp, CLICK HERE.