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Can I choose my own doctor to treat my workplace injury?

| May 1, 2021 | Work Injuries

Suffering an injury in a Minnesota workplace can be a trying time for you, and not just because you miss work for an extended period of time. Discussing personal medical matters can be a sensitive topic. You may prefer to deal with a doctor that you have a history with.

However, someone may have told you that workers’ compensation law will not allow you to choose your own doctor to treat your workplace injury. This is true for states that have laws mandating that their workers choose a doctor from a list approved by the employer. But Minnesota law provides you with greater latitude in choosing your doctor.

Selecting your health care provider

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry makes it clear that if you suffer a workplace injury, you can choose a health care provider to treat you. This means your employer cannot pressure you to pick another doctor just because it may be cheaper or more convenient for the employer. Still, there are a few instances when your employer may require you to see a particular health care provider.

Exceptions to the rule

Your employer may mandate you see a specific doctor if you receive care under a managed care plan that the state has certified. Alternatively, your employer may be a party to a collective bargaining agreement that requires a list of health care providers to exclusively provide medical treatments and examinations to workers.

Finally, your employer may have workers acquire their nonprescription medicines and outpatient prescriptions from a specific pharmacy or from a pharmacy network. However, the pharmacy your employer requires you to go to must be no farther than 15 miles from where you live.

Doctors and independent medical examinations

Finally, your employer may request that you receive an examination from a doctor other than the one who treats you, though the employer’s requirements must be reasonable. In most situations, an employer cannot require a worker to travel more than 150 miles from an employee’s home to attend an exam. The employer’s insurer must also pay for the exam and compensate you for reasonable mileage expenses and other related costs.

The protection afforded to you under law should keep your employer from taking advantage of you when you need medical help for a workplace injury. If you have trouble securing compensation, you may look at options to help you secure benefits.