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Who Does Your Doctor Listen To?

Burdine & Brown Oct. 22, 2019

That is an easy question to answer. Let's start by saying that your workers' compensation doctor assigned to your case does NOT listen to you.

The doctors who are on the Panel of Physicians, that is supposed to be posted on your job premises and accessible for your review, are not interested in your case. They are interested in returning you to any kind of work. Sure, they would refer you for small amount of physical therapy, usually at their facility so they can make some money. They will avoid an MRI (which tells a lot of information about your injury if properly read and interpreted by the doctor. They will attempt to minimize your treatment.)

The doctor listens to the Nurse Case Manager if one has been assigned to your case. The Nurse Case Manager attempts to influence the doctor by stating that the “employer has light duty work for the injured worker”, when in fact this might be an exaggeration. The doctor, like a fish floating downstream, will issue a medical form that states “light duty” work is appropriate for the injured worker. Now the fight begins and all because your company doctor is much more concerned with what the Nurse Case Manager says that what you tell the doctor.

Add to this the recurring situation where the adjuster calls the doctor and leans on the doctor about releasing you to light duty work (even if it is not available with your employer). The adjusters do not care. The goal is to terminate your weekly disability payments.

This system could almost be called corrupt. There is certainly collusion between and among the parties you, the worker, interface with. Many workers do not suspect any foul play. But I say that a healthy dose of realism is required once a job injury occurs. And, from time to time, a lawyer could be helpful to aid you navigating through this swamp.