Can I Choose My Doctor In a Workers Comp Case?
In Illinois, injured workers who receive workers’ compensation benefits are permitted by law to choose their own doctor for medical treatment.
Medical Rights for Injured Workers
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are required to provide workers compensation insurance for their employees to cover work-related injuries. This act also stipulates that injured workers are allowed to choose their own doctor for medical treatments. This ensures the rights of injured workers to receive medical treatment from a doctor who has their best interest at heart, rather than a doctor who has an ongoing relationship with an employer or insurance company.
The Two Doctor Rule
Illinois workers’ compensation laws include a “two doctor rule” that allows an injured worker to choose two doctors, and then receive medical care from the chosen doctor and any other doctors referred by the chosen doctor. Depending on the nature of the injury, a chosen doctor may refer the patient to various medical specialists for injuries.
If the employer is part of a Preferred Provider Program (PPP), the employee can choose any two doctors within that network. If the employee does not want to see a doctor from the preferred network, he/she may have limited options for a second opinion or further treatments.
Choosing a Personal Physician
An injured worker is permitted to seek medical treatment from his/her own personal doctor, as long as the doctor is authorized to treat workers’ compensation injuries. Prior to an initial visit, the worker must inform the doctor that his/her injury is work-related and will be handled under a workers’ compensation claim through his/her employer. Illinois doctors who handle workers’ compensation cases must be authorized to provide treatment and accept Illinois workers’ compensation insurance, because workers’ compensation insurers require certain forms and medical records as proof of injury.
An Employer Assigned Physician
In some cases, an employer may choose a doctor for work-related injuries. The employer must ensure that the initial exam is scheduled at a reasonable location and convenient time for the employee. The employer must also pay all expenses related to the doctor’s visit, including the cost of the exam, lost wages, and employee meals and travel expenses.
The doctor must provide a copy of the exam report to the employer and the employee. In cases where an employer chooses a doctor, an employee is required to go to the initial exam, but is not required to continue medical treatment with that doctor.