While many folks are still working from home, others are going back to offices, businesses or shops again for the first time in months. Other employees may never have stopped working outside the home in the first place. Either way, if you’re heading back in or you’re new to a job, it’s a good idea to verify your employer maintains a posted panel of physicians.
Georgia law requires every employer with three or more employees to provide a list of doctors who will treat those employees following an on-the-job injury. This list is called a posted panel of physicians or, sometimes, a workers’ compensation panel. Employers must post or display the list at their worksite or office.
The posted panel of physicians list must generally meet the following conditions:
- List must include the names of six or more different doctors or medical clinics
- List must include one orthopedist and one doctor who is a minority
- List cannot have more than two industrial clinics included
- List must include doctors’ contact information (address and phone number)
- List must include information for the insurance firm that’s providing the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance
- Either employer or insurance provider can pick the doctors and clinic
- List must be posted in a location that all employees can easily access
- Employer must show the posted list to all employees. Employer must explain how the employees can obtain care in case of illness or injury
If the employer appropriately posts the panel, the employee must go to one of the panel doctors for his or her care. The treating physician will supervise the employee’s treatment and will liaison with any other medical providers. However, disputes may arise between employers and employees about the validity of the posted panel.
Changing Your Doctor
If an employee is not happy with his or her treating doctor from the posted panel, he or she may select a different physician from the list. Typically, employers and their insurance providers allow employees to change once without too much trouble. If an employee is still not satisfied and wants to switch to a third doctor from the posted panel, the employer or insurance provider may not allow it. In these circumstances, the injured employee may have to seek special permission from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Choosing a Doctor Who is Not on the Posted Panel
If an employee wants to be treated by a doctor who is not on his or her employer’s posted panel, that employee will likely be responsible for paying his or her own medical bills. However, if the employee goes to the emergency room because of an on-the-job injury, the employer will likely be responsible for the ER bill. Once the emergency is over, the employee can go to his or her own doctor (and pay his or her own bills) or go to one of the posted panel doctors (and the employer should cover the medical bills).
If the employer does not have a posted panel and the employee is being treated by a doctor of his or her choice, the employer can require the employee to see a different physician for a second opinion. If the employer’s preferred doctor says that the employee is fit to return to work, the employer or their insurance provider may try to cut off the employee’s workers’ compensation benefits.
Have Additional Questions? Call The Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera.
While Georgia law requires employers to have a posted panel of physicians, the truth is that many companies either forget to post the information or share it with their employees. If you have questions about the posted panel or your rights to medical treatment following an on-the-job injury, contact The Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera. Our team can explain Ga workers’ compensation and the benefits available for your injury or disability. Contact our office today for a free consultation.