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CHOOSING YOUR OWN WORK COMP DOCTOR

If you have suffered a Minnesota work comp injury, many times the insurance company or your employer will send you to a Minnesota workers’ compensation doctor of their choosing.  Many times, they will tell you that you are REQUIRED to go to the doctor of their choosing.  Oftentimes, an injured employee will begin going to a doctor that the employer/insurer chooses and then realize that the doctor seems not to have their best interests in mind and seems to side with the employer/insurer on many issues.  At this point, it may be too late to switch doctors.  There are a few laws that govern the ability of an employee to choose their own Minnesota workers’ compensation doctor.

UNDER MINNESOTA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW, THE INJURED EMPLOYEE HAS THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE TREATING MEDICAL PROVIDERS.

However, this choice has limitations.  Once a medical provider has become the primary health care provider, the injured employee must provide a reasonable basis to change physicians.  This can include loss of faith in the doctor’s skill, lack of improvement in condition, and communication breakdowns.

A MEDICAL PROVIDER CAN BECOME “PRIMARY” AFTER JUST TWO VISITS.

However, within the first 60 days after treatment begins, an injured employee has the right to switch medical providers without prior authorization.  If it is past the 60 days and there is a “primary” health care provider, a reasonable basis as outlined above must be proven in order for the judge to approve a change in physicians.

A change of primary physicians will not be allowed after 60 days where any of the following exist:

  1.  A significant reason for the request is to try to block reasonable treatment or to avoid returning to work.
  2. The purpose of the change is to develop litigation strategy rather than pursue treatment.
  3. The provider sought lacks expertise to treat the injury.
  4. The travel distance is unnecessary as the same care is available at a more reasonable location.
  5.  At the time of the request, the employee requires no further treatment.
  6. The request is not in the best interests of the employee and employer.

There is a large amount of case law governing these rules as with the rest of Minnesota workers’ compensation law.  However, there are options available if you believe your insurer or employer are forcing medical decisions on you.  If you have suffered an injury at work and believe that your treating doctor is not making decisions in your bests interests, or have any questions about how to change medical providers, please contact our office for a free consultation.  Our Minneapolis/St. Paul work comp attorneys will do everything we can to make sure you are comfortable with your Minnesota workers’ compensation doctor.

Author Photo

Joshua R. Stokka

Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. After his first job during law school working for a workers’ compensation attorney, he decided that workers’ compensation is what he eventually wanted to do after law school. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result.  Now, he focuses 100% of his practice to defending injured workers’ in Minnesota.

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