In Georgia, you have choice over which doctor treats your workers compensation injury. To know what your choices are, you need to get the workers compensation doctor list.
Georgia law requires your employer to post the workers compensation doctor list. The formal name for this document is the “panel of physicians”.
Many people have questions about this list of doctors:
- What does the workers compensation doctor list look like?
- Where is the workers compensation doctor list posted?
- Does my employer have to tell me about the list?
- Can I choose any doctor on the list?
- What if I need to see a specialist not on the list?
- Can I get a copy of the list?
In this article, I will discuss these questions and provide some information about the list of doctors.
What does the workers compensation doctor list look like?
As I mentioned earlier, the doctor list is known as the panel of physicians. Most of the time, your employer will post a doctor list on the WC-P1 document.
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation publishes this form. Your employer should complete this document with the names of specific doctors or medical providers.
Sometimes, your employer will use a different list of doctors known as an MCO. If your employer uses an MCO, the document posted will probably look like this.
Where is the workers compensation doctor list posted?
O.C.G.A. 34-9-201 states the rules about the panel of physicians. That law says the employer has to post the panel in “prominent places on the business premises”.
Many employers place the list on a bulletin board. Often, it is near the time clock. Some employers post it with other documents required by law like minimum wage information.
Does my employer have to tell me about the list?
Your employer should tell you about the list. Georgia law states your employer shall take all reasonable measures to:
- Understand the panel or MCO
- Know about your right to pick a doctor
- Receive appropriate assistance in contacting a doctor when necessary
This means more than just telling you about the panel. Your employer not only needs to make sure you know the panel exists. They also need to make sure you know about your right to pick a doctor.
I find that many of my clients do not get told about the list of doctors. Some have not even heard about it until they talk to me about their case.
Can I choose any doctor on the list?
Yes. The doctor you pick becomes your authorized treating physician. Your authorized treating physician can treat you and refer you to other doctors.
Picking a good authorized treating physician will help you get the treatment you need. You can read more articles about workers compensation medical treatment in this section of our website.
What if I need to see a specialist not on the list?
The law does not require that your employer include all different kind of medical specialists on the list. If you employer uses a traditional panel of physicians, the only type of specialist specifically required is an orthopedic specialist.
Many people need to see other types of specialists to treat their work injuries. Your authorized treating physician can refer you to a specialist for treatment.
An MCO is different and has different rules. The main difference is that there are more specialists included in the list. But, with an MCO, you may not be able to see a specialist who is not on the list, even if your authorized treating physician refers you.
Can I get a copy of the list?
Yes. You can and should get a copy of the workers compensation doctor list. You need to know what doctors are on it and be able to reference it later.
One of the best ways to get a copy is to take pictures of it. You may want to use the camera on your cell phone to do this. A picture can document the information on the list as well as where it is posted.
If you cannot take a picture, you might try to make a xerox copy of it. Sometimes, you cannot do this because of the location of the list. In this situation, consider writing down the names of all the doctors on the list as well as their address and phone number.
What if my employer does not follow the rules about posting a workers compensation doctor list?
If your employer does not follow the rules, Georgia law often gives you the right to pick your own doctor. You often benefit greatly from this right since your employer may have less influence over the doctor you choose.