Most people know that if they are injured at work they are entitled to medical treatment through worker’s compensation programs. But did you know that you have rights under this program, including the right to choose your own doctor? Many people are under the mistaken assumption that using worker’s compensation automatically means that you will be told which medical professionals will be treating you.
Instead of having to use the “company” or “government” chosen doctor, a patient filing a worker’s compensation claim is by law allowed to choose the professionals who will treat them. The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) contains a provision added as an amendment in 1974 that protected workers’ rights to choose their doctors. The amendment stated that patients must be allowed to choose their own doctor for treatment. Rather than being forced to use one selected by their employer, a patient is allowed to make the medical decision in their own best interests for who will be providing their care.
It is impossible to understate the importance and power of this choice. Recovery from a potentially disabling injury is greatly impacted by the comfort level one has with the medical providers. It simply is not possible to recover quickly without a level of rapport and trust between the patient and the medical providers.
Having the ability to participate in the decision making process regarding care providers ensures that the needs of the patient are paramount, not just the needs of the employer.
The laws governing workers’ compensation were enacted back in 1916 to provide federal workers protection if they suffered injuries on the job. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs that runs the FECA program can be daunting to work with, given the complexity of the system and the misinformation that exists about the nature of the selection process for the doctors you will work with. It is essential once the process begins that the rules and processes of filing a claim are followed exactly, or the full range of benefits can be forfeited.
Beginning with the team at OWPC Docs in Houston is an advantageous first step you can take if you are injured on the job as a federal worker. The team at OWPC Docs Houston is well versed in all of the laws and rights you have as a patient, beginning with your ability to choose your treatment team. Making the right choice initially and going with a practice like this that knows not only the latest medical knowledge but also how to navigate the system is key to your recovery.
Don’t let misinformation or misunderstandings about your rights impact the effectiveness or process of your recovery. It is in your best interest, not necessarily that of your employer, that you should act once you are injured on the job, and making the right initial choice with your preferred treatment should be the first step on your road to healing. Do not simply go along with recommendations. You must exercise your legal right to choose your medical provider to get the best care possible.