Under workers' compensation law, it is the insurance company's responsibility to provide injured employees with medical care and recovery treatment and equipment to alleviate and eventually cure any side effects associated with the injury. This treatment, which is provided by "authorized treating physicians," often causes problems because they are not handpicked by the patient. Instead, the insurance company paying for the worker's benefits chooses the doctor. The majority of these doctors have had long-standing relationships with the insurance companies, but they've had no prior relationship with the patient at all. As a result, it is common for an insurance claims analyst assigned to the case to convince the doctor to release the injured employee from their rehabilitation program prematurely or to give a healthy assessment of the worker's current state. Furthermore, Florida statute offers incentives to physicians who get their patients back to work as quickly as possible.
Authorized treating physician
When an employer is notified of an injured worker, they proceed to choose an authorized treating physician. Typically, the employer directs the disabled employee to a nearby walk-in medical center or urgent care clinic. If the employer or insurance provider does not send them to a predetermined doctor, the employee may choose their own physician until such time when they are told to do differently. Once that decision is finalized, the employee is obligated to continue treatment with the authorized treating physician or any subsequent doctors that they are referred to. In Florida, injured employees are entitled to switch physicians once during their recuperation process.
Denied medical treatment
In some cases, an insurance company may refuse a patient treatment even when it is prescribed by the authorized treating physician. Oftentimes, when a doctor states that surgery is a viable option, the insurer will deny treatment authorization and will get a second opinion from an independent medical examiner. Although they call themselves "independent," it is a questionable adjective to use to describe them because many of them conduct a significant amount of business with workers' compensation insurance companies. If the insurance company's doctor cannot come to an agreement with the treating physician, the dispute may have to be resolved by a judge.
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