Georgia is one of only five states in the USA that STILL requires the worker after a job injury to get their medical care from doctors chosen by their employer or more likely by the insurance company. That means that in 45 states in the USA the worker may seek treatment from their own doctor. There are some limitations that apply.
If the employer does NOT post a list of six (6) doctors, clinics, hospitals, on a bulletin board at work for the worker to choose from, the worker is FREE to go anywhere for medical treatment and the insurance company MUST pay for this treatment.
Rest assured the insurance folks will fight you with all they have to bar you from using your own doctor. Why is this such a big deal to your employer and the insurance folks? CONTROL. With their doctors in charge of your medical are, they are in control of you because they have huge control over the doctors themselves. The doctors have been “educated” as to how to write their reports, minimizing testing (MRI, EMG, FCE) so that the adjuster may swiftly terminate all benefits due to you, the injure worker.
Years ago the Panel of Physicians consisted of three (3) doctors. Then it increased to four (4) and about ten years ago it has increased to six (6) doctors. Those of us who represent the worker would like to see an increase to 20 or 30 doctors, thereby giving our clients in their workers' compensation cases the likelihood of finding a decent, non-insurance company educated doctor on the list. Unfortunately it is quite easy to find six (6) doctors and clinics to always play the role of the insurance doctor.