The physician chosen by an employer or its insurance carrier to handle an injured worker’s care can make or break a worker’s compensation case. Therefore, it is important when you’re selecting your preferred facility or physician that you chose one that is reputable within the medical community.
If you’re questioning whether the physician is reputable, it is best to look at the Licensee Search page of the North Carolina Medical Board website. There you can check the physician’s credentials and see whether any complaints have been lodged against the physician in the past.
Ask Some Basic Questions
After reviewing the physician’s credentials, it’s good to ask a few practical questions:
(1) Does the facility or physician quickly provide work status notes so that the employer can determine whether they can accommodate work restrictions?
(2) Will the facility or physician quickly review a job description to determine whether a job is suitable for an injured worker?
(3) Does the facility or physician provide the medical notes from the office visit in a timely manner to the employer so that the employer can review additional treatment recommendations as expeditiously as possible?
(4) Will the facility or physician examine whether the injured worker’s complaints are consistent with the reported mechanism of injury? Do they instead accept complaints at face value?
(5) Will the facility or physician provide a definitive diagnosis within a reasonable time frame?
(6) Will the facility or physician provide only necessary and appropriate medical care?
(7) Will the facility or physician place an injured worker at maximum medical improvement within a reasonable time frame?
(8) Will the facility or physician address any applicable permanency rating(s) as well?
(9) Does the facility or physician have a reputation in the legal community for being defense oriented or plaintiff oriented?
(10) Does the facility or physician specialize in a certain area of medicine? If so, does Plaintiff’s medical condition fall within this speciality?
Check the Physician’s Reputation with the Industrial Commission
Finally, you will also want to consider whether the physician or facility has routinely been discredited by the Commission. The best way to look into this is to contact your attorney. He or she can look at the Commission’s website and examine past decisions to assess whether the credibility of the physician has been questioned by the Industrial Commission in the past.
Of course if you assess each of these items in choosing your facility or physician, there’s no guarantee you will win your case. But by doing so, your case should be on the best possible path for a quicker and more palatable conclusion.
If you have questions, you can reach me directly at 704-940-3442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.