Injured employees have a right to change their Atlanta workers’ compensation doctor one time throughout the course of their claim without the approval of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This holds true for cases in which the employee’s initial doctor was selected from the employer’s panel of physicians, as well as when the employer had no panel and the worker selected his or her own physician.
Your Right to Change Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor
If you don’t feel you are getting the level of medical treatment and care you need from your treating physician, you have the right to select another provider. Because your doctor is the one who dictates your care and your work injury status, it’s vital to have a doctor with whom you feel comfortable. O.C.G.A. 34-9-201(b)(1) provides workers the right to change their physician without Board approval once during the course of their workers’ compensation claim. If you selected your doctor from a panel of physicians, the second doctor you choose must also be from the list.
If there wasn’t a panel of physicians available when you were injured and you selected your own doctor, you are required to tell your employer who your treating physician is. This doctor will then be your authorized medical treatment provider for you case. If you so desire, you have the right to select a new physician of your choosing once at any time without prior approval from your employer or from the Board.
The statutes note, “any further change of physician or treatment must be in accordance O.C.G.A. 39-9-201 and Board Rule 200.”
Board Approved Changes in Workers’ Comp Physicians
If you want to change your doctor a second time, you will need approval from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. All parties will need to agree on the change, and either you or your employer will need to submit Form WC-200a to the Board. If the parties cannot agree on a new doctor, then you or your employer will need to submit a Form WC-200b seeking a change in physician. The Board will then review the documentation and make a determination on whether or not to approve the request for a change in physicians.
Below are a few of the factors the Board will take into consideration when reviewing the request for a change in physicians:
- The existence of any objections to the change;
- The type of injury (and whether or not the current and potential new provider can appropriately accommodate this type of injury);
- Facts about the doctors listed on the panel;
- The claimant’s history of prior changes in physicians;
- A comparison of travel distances for the worker to the current and proposed physician;
- Any language barriers between the employee and the doctor;
- Qualifications of the physicians; and
- The reputation of the physician from which the employee is seeking care.
Getting the Proper Care You Deserve
For questions about your workers’ compensation case, you are welcomed to call our attorneys at Bader Law Firm, LLC. Contact us today at 678-562-5595 for an initial consultation, free of charge.