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Why do I have to go through my company’s doctor for a work injury?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation is insurance coverage that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are injured while performing work-related activities. Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws, which differ in various ways. In Iowa, a unique aspect of the state’s laws involves the choice of the healthcare provider for an injured worker’s treatment.

Both employers and employees must understand this provision, as it directly impacts how medical care is handled after a work-related injury.

Iowa’s law on selecting healthcare providers

According to Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws, employers or their insurance carriers have the right to choose the medical care provider for employees who suffer work-related injuries. If an employee is injured on the job, the employer generally decides which doctor the employee must see in order to receive treatment. The rationale behind this law is to allow employers and their insurers to manage medical costs effectively, keep track of the treatment provided and ensure that the care received is appropriate for the injury sustained.

Employer responsibilities and employee rights

While employers have the right to choose the healthcare provider, they are also responsible for arranging and paying for reasonable care to treat the worker’s injury. Additionally, employers must respect certain employee rights. For instance, employees can seek treatment in an emergency at the nearest healthcare facility. Employees also have the right to request alternate care if they believe the care being provided is not reasonable. Such requests are subject to approval by the workers’ compensation commissioner. If approved, the employee can receive care from a different healthcare provider at the employer’s expense.

It’s critical for employers to ensure that their employees receive suitable medical care for work-related injuries. Employees who believe that they aren’t getting the care they need or the benefits they’re due should learn about their legal rights. Seeking legal guidance can better ensure that employees’ rights are respected in the aftermath of sustaining work-related harm.