Like many people, you probably trust your medical care to a particular doctor. In the event you get hurt, you prefer to visit your personal doctor if at all possible. But if you sustain an injury at the workplace, you might not have this option if you want workers’ compensation benefits unless you have already predesignated your doctor.
If you have not suffered an injury at work yet, predesignating a doctor is an option worth considering. The California Department of Industrial Relations website explains what you must do in order to successfully predesignate a physician.
Guidelines for predesignation
First, you should contact your doctor. Ask your doctor for permission to predesignate him or her. Once you have secured the approval of your physician, you can draft a written notice to provide to your employer. The notice will formally predesignate your doctor and provide the name and address of your physician.
Keep in mind that you must have a plan, fund or policy that gives you coverage of illnesses or injuries that you suffer apart from your occupation. California guidelines allow you to predesignate an M.D., which is a doctor of medicine, or a D.O., a doctor of osteopathy. You may also predesignate a medical group that you are a part of.
Options if you do not predesignate
If you have not predesignated a doctor and you get hurt, you will have to pick a doctor chosen by your employer’s medical provider network or health care organization if you have decided to be in it. But in the event your employer does not have an MPN or an HCO, the claims administrator has the right to choose a doctor for you for 30 days. After this period, you may choose a doctor to treat you.
Even if you do see a doctor chosen by your employer, you still have the option to seek an evaluation by a qualified medical evaluator in the event you do not agree with the doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries or plan for your treatment. In the aftermath of a workplace injury, you should take the time to learn your options as you may find that you have more flexibility than you think while seeking treatment.