The Authorized Treating Physician. The authorized treating physician in a Virginia workers’ compensation claim merely refers to the doctor who the workers’ compensation carrier has agreed to allow to coordinate and direct your treatment. It is also the physician through whom they agree to pay for all recommended medical treatment. This medical provider is usually chosen and one of two ways:
- The first way to get an authorized treating physician is by establishing a course of treatment with that doctor. Let’s assume, for example that you have suffered a severe injury which requires immediate surgery. You are taken to the emergency room, where a doctor from the orthopedic department or other specialty surgical department of the hospital advises you or your close relatives that you need immediate surgery, such as to repair and fixate your bones. Oftentimes, the doctor who performed the surgery, and begins to follow-up with you after your release from the hospital becomes your authorized treating physician.
- The second way you get your authorized doctor is that you are advised by the employer to go to a company medical doctor after your accident. Ultimately, it becomes clear that your injuries require the services of a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon. If you are lucky, you are then sent a panel of three orthopedic surgeons to choose from. If you are not so lucky, the less scrupulous company doctors never make the appropriate recommendation for you to go to a specialist and they attempt to send you back to work before you are ready. They never order the appropriate diagnostic tests and put you in a very bad position.
Workers should know that the panel of doctors are picked by the employer on the basis that the employer likes doctors who will says workers can return to work. Those doctors usually tend to err on the side of saying you are a faker, even though no appropriate diagnostic tests have been performed. We have seen this play out many, many times
In any of those scenarios, the notion of having an authorized treating physician really only means is that once you establish a course of treatment or choose a doctor from a panel, the workers compensation insurance company agrees to pay for all treatment by that doctor.
The Power of the Authorized Treating Doctor
Once you begin your treatment with an authorized doctor, you generally must attend all appointments and show a good effort at engaging in that course of treatment. If you fail to cooperate or follow-through with the treatment, the employer will file an application to cut off your benefits and then you are in trouble.
If you’re hurt at work, the employer will use their legal team to fight for them. Workers need a skilled lawyer to fight for them and make sure the doctors are treating them correctly. Call w0rkers’ compensation attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and get Strong Justice for your case.