Your right to medical treatment is one of the most important benefits available to you under Georgia’s workers compensation law. Medical treatment with good doctors should help ensure that you make the best possible recovery from your injury.
So, many people want to know how they can treat with a good doctor in a workers compensation case. In a Georgia workers’ compensation case, there are rules that determine what doctors can treat you for your injury. Basically, the starting point for your medical treatment is going to be your employer’s panel of physicians.
Because your treatment starts with your employer’s panel of physicians, it is very important to understand how the panel of physicians works and where you can find it. I am going to discuss those things and some other information about the panel of physicians in this article.
You may have never heard the term Panel of Physicians or even list of Workers’ Compensation doctors. You may not have even known that one should exist. But your employer should have actually had a list of Workers’ Compensation doctors or Panel of Physicians posted at your job site and they should have explained that to you. That’s a requirement of Georgia’s law.
In most situations, your employer picks a list of at least six doctors and writes them on a document known as the panel of physicians. The panel of physicians is important to you because you get to pick a doctor off of that list to treat you. You can also change to a different doctor on that list if you get unhappy with your initial doctor selection.
What does a panel of physicians look like?
The easiest way to see what a panel of physicians looks like is to view the official form on the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s website. That form is what is known as the traditional panel of physicians which applies in most Georgia workers compensation cases.
One other type of panel of physicians is a WC/MCO panel of physicians. This form is actually known as the “Managed Care Organization Procedures”. It looks like this.
This WC/MCO form will not actually list the doctors. Instead, it lists the ways that an injured worker can obtain the list of doctors that are in the WC/MCO. The State of Georgia/DOAS and the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) are employers who have used WC/MCOs to provide workers compensation medical care.
How can I find the panel of physicians?
Georgia law requires employers to post the panel of physicians in prominent places on their business premises. What does that mean?
Since the panel must be prominent, it cannot be stuck in a drawer or hidden in a corner. Most employers post the panel on a bulletin board where they also post other employment information that the law requires them to post. These bulletin boards are often located in a break room or near the time clock.
Does my employer have to give me a copy of the panel of physicians?
The State Board of Workers’ Compensation rules do require your employer to provide a copy of the panel of physicians upon request. However, they have some time to respond to that request for the panel.
If you locate the panel of physicians, you may want to document what it looks like. One of the easiest ways to do this can be to take pictures of the panel. This picture can serve as documentation of:
- What the panel looked like;
- Where it was posted; and
- Which doctors were listed on it.
All of this information can be important in your workers compensation case. If your employer did not follow the rules about posting and explaining the panel, you may be able to select any doctor you want to provide treatment for your workers compensation injury. This right can be very helpful in making sure you get proper treatment for your injury.