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Can I Change My Workers’ Compensation Doctor?

Getting good medical treatment is very important.  It helps you recover from a work injury.

Sometimes, the first doctor you treat with will not provide the treatment you need.  You may need to change doctors to recover from your injury.

This article covers your right to change doctors after the initial selection of a doctor off the panel of physicians.   If you do not know the basics about making an initial selection on the panel, I would recommend you read this article I wrote first.

A doctor change may be necessary to get the medical treatment you need to recover from your work injuryChanging Doctors on the Panel of Physicians

There are several potential ways to change doctors in a Workers’ Compensation case.  One way is through the panel of physicians.  An injured worker simply selects another doctor on the employer’s posted panel of physicians and notifies the employer of that selection.

O.C.G.A. §34-9-201(b)(1) provides that, after the initial selection of a treating doctor, “The employee may make one change from one physician to another on the same panel without prior authorization of the board.”  This section of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation law gives an injured worker the right to change to a different doctor on the panel of physicians.

You can make this one time change for any reason.  It is important to remember that this is only a one time right to change doctors on the panel.

Once you use this panel change, it is gone.  But you can still change doctors other ways.

Some Reasons You Might Not Change on the Panel of Physicians

Many times, an injured worker may need to change physicians but cannot find a good choice on the employer’s panel of physicians:

  • The particular type of specialist you need to see is not on the employer’s panel
  • You and your attorney believe that you cannot get a fair shake from the “company doctors” on the panel of physicians
  • You may have already seen two doctors on the panel of physicians and still have problems that those doctors have not fixed

Agreeing to Change Doctors

In addition to this one time right to change physicians on the panel, an injured worker (either individually or through an attorney) can simply reach an agreement with the employer and workers’ compensation insurance company to change to a different doctor.

There is nothing requiring the doctor who is agreed upon come from the panel of physicians.  A change by agreement provides an opportunity to get specialized medical care from a particular doctor.  This may help you get better and go back to work.

If both sides agree, then a Form WC-200a can be filed with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  After that, the doctor agreed to will become the authorized treating physician.

Motions to Change Doctors

What do you do if you cannot agree on a doctor or pick a good one off the panel?  Georgia law provides another way to change doctors.  If you need to see a particular doctor or type of doctor and the employer will not agree, you can request a change of physician by filing a request under O.C.G.A. §34-9-200(b).

Rule 200 of the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation specifies how to make this requestYou may need to file a motion or request a hearing to get your workers' compensation doctor changed.  Basically, the injured worker or an attorney representing him or her can file a motion requesting a change of physician on a Form WC-200b.  You can also request a hearing seeking a change of physician by filing a Form WC-14.

Either way, you need to present evidence supporting why you need to change doctors.  This evidence might include medical records from a doctor indicating that you needed additional treatment or that you needed to see a specialist.  If a motion is filed, it might also include an affidavit from the injured worker.

Whether the motion is filed or a hearing takes place, an Administrative Law Judge at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation will ultimately issue an award determining whether a change of physician should be granted.  Either side can appeal this award, but the time window to appeal it is fairly short.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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