You don’t have to love your workers’ compensation doctor – but you should feel like they prioritize your health and have your best interests at heart.
So, what happens when you either don’t like the workers’ compensation doctor you have or you simply don’t trust their opinion or expertise?
In Iowa, your employer (or their insurer) dictates your care
Some states allow injured workers a great deal of latitude when it comes to choosing their primary treating source for workers’ comp, but Iowa puts the control largely in the hands of your employer (or their insurer). Absent an emergency situation, you’re pretty much stuck with the doctor they choose – at least for a while.
If you don’t “click” with the physician they’ve chosen for some reason, the first thing you can do is try to negotiate with your employer or their insurer to ask for a change. With luck, they’ll be willing to accommodate you. If they do not, however, you will have to file a petition to change your care provider with the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
What sort of things can convince the DWC to allow you to change doctors?
Generally speaking, you need to present your case for a change in medical providers to the DWC as strongly as possible. A strong case could include things like the following:
- Your doctor has openly expressed skepticism about your condition.
- Your doctor seems to be more concerned about your employer’s needs than your needs.
- Your condition is not improving, and your doctor seems out of ideas.
- You think that you need a referral to a specialist, but your doctor is resistant.
Despite the fact that workers’ compensation is supposed to be a no-fault, easy-to-use system, injured workers often have a hard time getting the benefits they need. If your claim isn’t going well, find out more about your legal rights.