Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Colorado House Bill 1176 (UPDATE: signed into law)

The Colorado legislature seems to be moving to pass a law which involves an injured workers right to have a choice and change doctors. The current law says your employer has the first right to pick your treating doctor when you report your injury and need medical treatment. This usually results in being sent to a facility hand picked by your employer/insurer. Trying to change doctors is not easy and my experience has been that such hand picked doctors often will treat and release claimants too early. The proposed law gives claimants a bit more protection. As of Jan.1, 2008 it requires they be given two choices and also lets them switch more easily within the first 90 days. It really is not as good as having a choice of any doctor you wish but it is more then being stuck with one doctor. Still it has been opposed and it is alleged the current system works just fine and few workers request any change of physician. Most of us in this field know perfectly well that changing doctors is seldom easy and if it requires going to a hearing can take many weeks with an uncertain outcome. If we truly care about recovery then this law gives a bit more help to the worker if he feels his employer picked doctor is not helping him. Hopefully this bill will pass and be signed into law by the governor. Here is the current version of the proposed bill:

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