I Don’t Like the Doctor They Sent Me To. What Can I Do?
In the United States, 36 states and Washington, D.C. require businesses with one or more employees to provide workers compensation coverage. Kansas is unique it bases its workers compensation coverage mandate on payroll, not on the number of employees.
The Kansas Workers Compensation Act (KWCA) passed in 2011, which enforced tight deadlines for filing claims and placed restrictions on coverage for injuries resulting from pre-existing conditions. A few years after passing the KWCA, the state adopted the 6th Edition of the American Medical Association’s “Guide to Permanent Impairment,” which further restricted which physicians could perform impairment evaluations on employees.
Through this adoption, Kansas employers have been given the power to choose the physician you must see and rely on when seeking treatment for a work-related injury or illness. You have some leeway to seek a second opinion on your own, but the system only allows for a reimbursement of only $500 if you do so.
If you’re a Kansas employee who’s been injured at work and stuck with a physician with whom you don’t feel comfortable, contact our workers compensation attorneys at Slape & Howard in Wichita, Kansas. We have been fighting for changes to the KWCA since its adoption, and we have likewise fought for individual workers’ rights to workers compensation benefits throughout the state.
Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We extend our services to anyone throughout the state of Kansas.
Is It Possible to Switch Doctors During My Workers Compensation Treatment?
As mentioned above, your employer has the power to choose the physician you must see if you file a workers compensation claim for an injury or illness. There is a provision allowing you to see a doctor of your own choosing, presumably for a second opinion, or because you’re personally familiar with another physician; but, this provision limits reimbursement to a one-time payment of $500, and will only be paid if your claim is accepted.
If you find yourself forced to see a physician that isn’t a good fit for you, and you wish to choose another physician, you will have to get approval from your employer.
That may be challenging, as employers who opt to choose physicians for their employees often do so because it benefits them in some way. Perhaps their chosen physician will adhere to a minimalist approach to save the employer costs but, in the process, you won’t necessarily feel enough progress is being made.
What Happens If an Employer Declines My Request to Switch Doctors?
If your employer declines your request to switch physicians, you do have another option. According to Kansas law, you can submit an application for a determination of the benefits or compensation you are owed. An administrative law judge will take over your case, listen to all the evidence from both you and your employer relating to your situation, and make their decision about your recovery accordingly.
However, it’s important to remember that this type of appeal case can take a considerable amount of time to complete, and there's no guarantee that it will turn out in your favor. Plus, in the meantime, you will have to rely on the physician assigned to you, or pay for treatment on your own.
Rely on Experienced Workers Compensation Attorneys
If you’re injured at work or fall ill due to workplace conditions, get in touch with us immediately. We can help you prepare your claim and provide the medical evidence needed to improve your chance of success in obtaining benefits. We can also help you negotiate with your employer and their insurance provider when it comes to your treatment options. And, we can appeal to the statewide director to help you retain the medical provider of your choice.
Don’t go through this alone. Too much is at stake, including your health, well-being and future employment prospects. We will fight side-by-side with you throughout the process. From our office in Wichita, Kansas, we proudly represent clients throughout the state in their workers compensation claims and appeals.