Can workers with workers’ compensation choose their doctors?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Minnesota requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect themselves and their employees. It offers financial benefits to aid workers who become injured or ill in the course of performing work duties.

After an incident resulting in an injury, a worker generally needs medical care, sometimes including extensive treatment over a long period. Naturally, workers want a healthcare professional they trust to look after them. This is understandable, and, usually, workers can pick the one they want. However, there are exceptions.

When can workers not choose their doctors?

If an employer’s insurer is part of a collective bargaining agreement with a provision listing specific healthcare providers they must use, then workers must use a professional from that list. Workers may also be under a managed care health insurance plan. This may also obligate them to choose a certain doctor. Regardless of who they pick to oversee their care, the care provider must adhere to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s treatment guidelines.

Can you switch doctors?

Two visits set a healthcare provider as a worker’s provider for workers’ compensation purposes, but workers can still switch doctors as long as it is within 60 days of the initial treatment. After that, employees cannot change doctors unless the insurer or a judge permits it. This requires showing a rational reason for it, such as the condition failing to improve.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota had almost 64,000 reported workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021. When employees sustain injuries or become ill at work, picking a proper doctor is important to the recovery process. In most situations, they can choose their own healthcare providers, but changing them after a certain period is difficult.

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