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Important points about workers' compensation medical services

Louisiana workers who suffer workplace injuries or have a medical issue due to the type of work that they do will undoubtedly understand their eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. When receiving medical treatment, however, there is frequently a gap between knowing that they can get it and what kind of treatment they are entitled to. Such factors as doctor selection, a disagreement between medical professionals regarding the condition, medical bills and anything else that comes up can cause fear and worry when the worker should be thinking about getting well. Having a grasp of these issues is important.

Workers can choose the treating physician they want. They are also accorded the option to change from one specialist to another without needing to receive approval from the employer or the insurance company. The worker is required to have approval to change from one doctor to another if they have the same specialty. Although the worker can select his or her own treating doctor, the doctor must receive approval from the employer and/or the insurance company to continue providing treatment if its cost goes beyond $750, except in cases in which it is an emergency. The employer and insurer must have a viable reason for denying consent. An employer might eventually want the worker to be examined by a doctor of their choosing. Failing to agree to the examination could cause a suspension of workers' compensation benefits until the examination is taken.

A worker's doctor and the employer-mandated doctor might disagree about the employee's condition. If that is the case, the worker can request there be an independent medical examination. For this, there is a form to fill out and send to the Medical Services Section of the Officer of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA). When medical bills are sent to the worker, they should instead be sent to the employer or the insurer. Workers should not forward them to the OWCA. This delays payment.

While workers' compensation benefits are in place for the worker, that does not preclude issues from arising during the process. If there is a problem or any confusion surrounding medical expenses, which doctors can be used, and anything else related to these benefits, a legal professional experienced in workers' compensation can help.

Source: laworks.net, "Frequently Asked Questions From Injured Workers About Medical Services," accessed on July 17, 2017

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