When you’re injured on the job, your number one priority is getting better and getting back to work – but what if your doctor leaves a lot to be desired? In Iowa, your employer generally has the right to pick your workers’ comp medical provider (with exceptions for emergencies, of course) – so long as that provider is reasonably suited to the kind of injury that you have.
Unfortunately, the chosen medical provider has a great deal of control over both your health and the future of your workers’ comp claim. They decide what treatment you need, what specialists you see, what physical therapy you have to have, when you can return to work and what restrictions you will have once you do – so a conflict with your physician can be a very big deal, indeed.
If you’re unhappy with the care you’re receiving, you can try to negotiate with your employer or their insurer for a switch. If that doesn’t work, however, you may need to appeal to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (DWC) for a resolution. Some of the most compelling reasons for asking to switch providers include the following.
You believe your doctor is being influenced by your employer
Even though your doctor was selected by your employer, they’re still supposed to make your care their top concern. Your employer’s opinions and needs shouldn’t be factored into your doctor’s recommendations. If your employer keeps trying to influence your treatment plan or accommodations and the doctor seems inclined to listen to them, that may be reason enough to ask for a change. A lack of impartiality by your provider is a serious issue.
You believe your care is insufficient
If you believe that your assigned doctor isn’t providing sufficient or appropriate care for your injury or has misdiagnosed you that might be a good cause for a change. Similarly, if you believe that your provider lacks the necessary experience or skillset to treat your condition and they won’t send you to a specialist, that’s clearly a reason for concern.
You have issues with communication
Communication is the key to any successful doctor-patient relationship, so a communication breakdown can be a big problem. If you feel like your concerns aren’t being addressed by your doctor and you’re not being heard, it may be time to ask for a change.
If you feel like your workplace injury isn’t being treated properly or that you’re being given the “runaround” by your employer, their insurer or your workers’ comp doctor, learning more about your legal options can be potentially beneficial.