Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Changing Physicians by statute and rule
Traditionally in workers comp in this state you have a physician designated to provide you with medical care selected by your employer (who in turn usually has been provided with help on this by the insurer). Then if you were unhappy or just needed another doctor you had three ways to do it. You could agree with the insurer to a new named doctor, or you could send a 20 day letter per 8-43-404(5)(a)(VI)that you want a certain doctor who then would be your doctor if the insurer did not timely respond denying it. Last, you could seek a hearing. If there was a dispute on this you'd have to seek a hearing and that takes time to schedule. In a practical sense it was not easy to get a fast change. To this traditional process was added another way and a new wrinkle. Now the employer has to provide you (in writing) with two providers for you to pick from. If not you can choose your own doctor. It also allows for you to switch between the doctors. Sounds simple but it's not. You only have 90 days to do this from your date of injury. You have to comply with the statute at 8-43-404(5) and with the rule noted as Rule 8-5. You have to use the form provided by the Division. In fact they are proposing a change to Rule 8-5. So what do you do? I'd check the Division website for the latest information and proceed from there. Remember though if there is a dispute then you may still need a hearing unless it can be quickly resolved.