Cooperate with Your Doctor as Best You Can
I regularly speak with clients who report a less than pleasing experience in their appointments with posted panel doctors. Clients sometimes report that the panel doctor was rude, unhelpful and unwilling to spend any significant time learning about symptoms or other problems.
Not surprisingly if you have had a bad experience with the company doctor you may be less inclined to follow his treatment directions. In fact, dissatisfaction with posted panel medical treatment drives many potential clients to call me.
As unhappy as you may be with the treatment you are receiving from an industrial clinic doctor, you will be better off cooperating rather than refusing treatment. If you choose not to take prescribed medicine or participate in physical therapy, the insurance company will use your lack of cooperation as grounds to try to terminate your benefits.
Under the Georgia workers’ compensation law you have an obligation to cooperate with employer provided medical care, at least for a reasonable amount of time.
If the company provided medical care is ineffective, the law gives you an opportunity to obtain replacement care. If, for example, I see that your posted panel options are physicians of questionable quality or doctors who carry a well known bias, I have a good chance at negotiating an agreement with the insurance adjustor to get you an appointment with a reasonable doctor.
Rely on my Knowledge of Doctors in Georgia Who
Accept Workers’ Compensation Patients
In this regard one of the most substantial benefits I can provide to my clients relates to my knowledge of physicians in north Georgia and elsewhere in the state. Insurance adjustors will encourage you not to hire an attorney because they have a valuable strategic advantage over an unrepresented claimant. The insurance adjustor wants you to keep treating with extremely conservative and pro-insurance doctors. Usually they will back down if I challenge them about the poor quality of a particular doctor.
We have other options available to us as well, including the “clamant’s IME” and, as a last resort, litigation at the State Board in the form of a Motion to Change Authorized Treating Physician.”
Unfortunately, the law gives your employer the first opportunity to provide medical care, and before we can negotiate or try to force a change, you have to expend the time and energy trying to cooperate with the posted panel doctor. The process may be a waste of time but it is very difficult to negotiate or litigate a change in treating doctors if you have not been cooperative. So, you can preserve the option of grabbing control of the medical care in your case, you must cooperate with the efforts of the posted panel doctor, even if you do not want to do so.
Questions about posted panel doctors? Medical treatment in your Georgia workers’ compensation case? Call me at 770-351-0801.
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