Do I get to choose my own doctor for work injuries?

| Feb 16, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Having an accident and suffering an injury at work can become a frustrating situation. Once the incident occurs, you will enter the workers’ compensation system to seek compensation for your medical care and lost wages. 

The system can be confusing if you have never dealt with it before. In addition, there are many rules you will have to follow or you could put your benefits at risk. One rule impacts whether you can choose your own doctor if you have to have one appointed through the system. The answer to this is not straightforward. 

Choose your own or not

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, you can choose your own care providers, but your employer also reserves the right to tell you which health care provider you must use. However, your employer may only do this in specific situations. 

Your employer can tell you which pharmacy to use to keep your purchases within the network provided by its insurer as long as the pharmacy of choice is not more than 15 miles away from your home. Another scenario is that your collective bargaining agreement may stipulate which providers you must use. Finally, your employer can make you use in-network providers for treatment and supplies. 

Independent Medical Examination

You may also have to see an employer-chosen physician if you must undergo an independent medical examination. An IME helps provide an additional medical opinion about your injury or illness. Your employer can request an IME as part of its rights within the system, and you must undergo this exam or risk losing your benefits.