When people are pursuing workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina, they must see a doctor, often at least a few times. It would be nice to be able to go with the doctor of your choosing for continuing treatment, but in North Carolina, you must see providers approved by your insurance company.
This can be frustrating because you may get the feeling that the doctor is not listening to your concerns. In fact, you might be under the impression that the doctor’s loyalty is to the insurance company or your employer and not to helping you heal as fully as possible. If you think your doctor is not listening to you, here are a few tips.
You are not necessarily stuck
First, know that you are not necessarily stuck with this doctor. You have the option of talking with your insurance adjuster about getting another doctor. Failing that, you can get a lawyer to try to negotiate a change of doctor with the adjuster or to get permission from the North Carolina Industrial Commission to change doctors. You must use specific details to explain why you have good cause to change doctors.
Proceed with caution before seeing other doctors without permission
If you decide to get medical care without permission from the people involved in your workers’ compensation case, know that the opinions of the doctor(s) you choose are likely to be ignored. The North Carolina Industrial Commission tends to give much more weight, if not all weight, to authorized doctors only.
Talk to your doctor
Before taking official steps such as seeking a switch of doctors, you might want to consider communicating directly with your doctor. Prepare for the meeting by outlining your concerns, using details that are as specific as possible. For example, did the doctor recommend X treatment for hearing loss that seems to be rushed and not helpful in lieu of Y treatment that seems more appropriate? Why might Y be better in your situation? Stay as neutral as possible and avoid statements such as, “It’s the insurance company that pays your bills, so it’s not like this is a surprise.”