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Who gets to select the physician that treats a workplace injury?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

The right medical care can make a major impact on how quickly you recover from a workplace injury. One of the most crucial protections that Iowa’s workers’ compensation insurance system offers is the right to full reimbursement for necessary medical expenses. Full coverage means a work won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses.

It will typically be the doctor who diagnoses the condition and oversees the treatment that gets to determine what treatments and costs are necessary for a worker to get back on the job. Who gets to choose which doctor provides the treatment to an injured worker in an Iowa workers’ compensation claim?

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system has some outdated rules

The workers’ compensation insurance program in Iowa has been around for decades, and some of the rules have never received updates to reflect the modern needs of employees. For example, while many states allow injured workers to choose their own physician for treatment in a workers’ compensation claim, that isn’t always an option here in Iowa.

Generally speaking, workers hurt on the job will need to see the physician that their employer recommends or go to the facilities selected by their employer. Employees will have to undergo treatment based on the recommendations of a doctor with whom they have no previous relationship.

Only if an employee does that and then has concerns that the recommendations are inappropriate or the care is inadequate can they ask to seek a second opinion or receive care from their own physician. Even then, there is typically a court hearing required to receive approval for such care.

You shouldn’t be afraid to push for the treatment that you need

One of the big problems with letting an employer pick the physician who provides care to an injured worker is that the medical professional may have a sense of loyalty to the company rather than the patient. They might try to convince a worker to go back to work when doing so might exacerbate their condition or prolong their painful symptoms.

You should not compromise when it comes to the care that you get to treat a work injury. Asking for a second opinion or taking the necessary steps to see a doctor more invested in your recovery can be a difficult but worthwhile decision when receiving workers’ compensation health benefits.


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