Panel or No Panel …That is the Question
Under Georgia law, your employer can maintain control over your medical treatment if they have a valid panel of physicians posted at the time of your accident. What is a panel of physicians? A panel of physicians is a list of at least six doctors from which an injured worker must select his or her authorized treating physician. An authorized treating physician is the doctor who is in charge of providing you with medical treatment and making appropriate referrals to any specialists you may need. The panel of physicians is supposed to be posted in an easily visible location at the workplace and its function should be explained to each employee at some point prior to his or her work related injury. Workers’ Compensation rules require that the panel of physicians be presented to the injured worker when an injury is reported in order for the injured worker to make a valid selection of an authorized treating physician.
Many employers fail to post a valid panel of physicians. The impact of an employer failing to post a valid panel of physicians is that the injured worker is then entitled to select a doctor of his or her choice rather than having to be treated by a doctor selected by the employer/insurer. This is critical in the handling of your workers’ compensation claim. Gaining control of the medical treatment in your claim gives you the best chance of actually receiving appropriate treatment by a physician who will truly advocate for you! The doctors on an employer’s panel of physicians are many times “insurance company doctors” who will push to rush you back to work before you have received the treatment that you need to avoid re-injury.Continue Reading