There is a popular misconception about workers’ comp that you can’t see your own doctor if you get hurt at work. While that may be the case in some states, in Ohio the rules are different. In this blog post, we discuss your options for choosing a doctor after a workplace injury.
What the Law Says About The Doctor You Can See
Workers injured on the job in Ohio can go to any doctor they want for the initial visit to address a workplace injury. Workers’ comp will pay for that initial visit, no matter who the doctor is.
After the initial visit, however, the injured worker needs to choose a “Physician of Record” who is also certified by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). After your initial visit, workers’ comp will only pay the medical costs of being treated by a BWC-certified provider.
Is Your Regular Doctor BWC-Certified?
Many of our clients worry this means they’ll have to switch doctors. That’s not necessarily the case. In fact, lots of physicians who treat people like our clients have a BWC-certification. The BWC tries to make it easy for providers to become certified. To find out if your regular provider has BWC certification, you can use this lookup tool from the BWC.
If your regular doctor isn’t BWC-certified, then you have a choice. You can continue seeing your regular doctor but will be responsible for paying the costs yourself. Or, you can choose an alternative, BWC-certified provider from the BWC’s list. Most people choose the second option. We recommend to our clients that if they find themselves in that position, they ask their regular doctor to recommend a doctor from the certified list. Sometimes a different doctor within the same medical practice as our client’s regular doctor will be certified, making switching easy and relatively pain-free. When our clients ask, we also sometimes suggest BWC-certified providers our past clients have used.
What if You Don’t Like the New Doctor?
Sometimes it’s just not a good fit with the new, BWC-certified doctor you switch to for treatment of an injury covered by workers’ comp. That’s ok. You aren’t stuck with the first BWC-certified doctor you choose. You can switch to another doctor, so long as that doctor is also BWC-certified, and still have your treatment covered by workers’ comp. All you need to do is fill out this form available at the BWC website and submit it to your employer’s Managed Care Organization (MCO).
How Can A Workers’ Comp Attorney Help?
The BWC has tried to make finding and consulting with a doctor for a workplace injury pretty straightforward so that workers can do it on their own without much hassle or expense. There are times, however, when it makes sense to seek the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney to facilitate getting the medical care you need. For example:
- If your employer’s MCO refuses to approve recommended medical care, such as surgery or course of therapy;
- If your BWC-certified doctor wants to add conditions other than your initial workplace injury to the list of ailments workers’ comp should cover, but the BWC refuses to allow it; or
- If your employer or employer’s MCO tries to pressure you into using specific providers or retaliates against you for seeking medical care from your chosen doctor.
In general, if you feel as if someone is trying to prevent you from receiving the care you believe you need to recover from your workplace injury or illness, a workers’ comp attorney can help enforce your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.
NE Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
At Dworken & Bernstein, we represent Northeast Ohioans in every aspect of recovering compensation and receiving medical care for a workplace injury. To learn more about how may help, contact us today.
The information presented in this post is not legal advice and does not form a lawyer/client relationship. Laws and circumstances can differ and change.
Please contact us for a personal review of your situation