The relationship between a doctor and a patient is sacrosanct, so it only makes sense that you would carefully choose the person who will be responsible for your health and well-being, right?
Under most circumstances, that’s true – except when you have a workplace-related injury or illness.
Who has the power: You or your employer?
Every state has its own rules when it comes to the freedoms of injured employees to pick their own medical providers. Missouri is among the most restrictive.
While you can seek emergency treatment just about anywhere, your employer has the right to direct you to a doctor of their choosing for any ongoing treatment you need. Much of the time, employers delegate this responsibility to their insurance company.
What if you use your private health insurance?
You do have the option of choosing your own medical provider and paying for treatment yourself, but don’t count on using your private health insurance to do it. Almost all insurance companies want to know if someone is seeking treatment for a work-related condition. If you are, they’ll refuse to pay (reasoning that you have workers’ comp available to you).
That means you would have to pay for office visits, tests, medications, surgical procedures and physical therapy related to your injury entirely out of pocket. That’s not affordable for most people.
What if the doctor chosen isn’t giving you quality care?
You can petition the Missouri Depart of Labor & Industrial Relations directly and ask for the right to change your physician. However, that’s not an easy process.
If you don’t believe that you’re receiving appropriate medical care after a workplace injury and you feel like you’re wasting your time and energy trying to find a resolution, it’s probably time to put your case in experienced hands.