Suffering a workplace injury can be a challenging experience, and understanding the approval process for specific treatments within the workers’ compensation framework is essential. In this guide, we’ll break down how the approval process works for treatments such as physical therapy, surgery, and medications – and what to do if you disagree with the recommended treatment plan.
In this article, you can discover:
- How certain treatments are approved during a workers’ comp claim.
- What you can do if you disagree with the treatment plan provided in your workers’ comp case.
- How to get the medical care you need if you’re stuck by “red tape” in a workers’ comp case.
What Is The Approval Process For Specific Treatments In The Workers’ Comp Claim Process?
The approval process for specific treatments within the workers’ compensation system can vary depending on the nature of the treatment. Let’s explore how it typically unfolds:
- Physical Therapy & Medications
When an injured worker requires physical therapy or medications, the process often begins with a recommended number of visits or a prescription. For instance, 12 physical therapy visits are common for many strains and injuries. In such cases, the insurance company promptly authorizes the initial 12 visits.
However, if additional visits or medication refills are recommended after the initial authorization, the insurance company may request a review before granting further approval. This practice is relatively common and aims to ensure that ongoing treatment aligns with the injured worker’s progress and medical needs.
- Surgery & Invasive Procedures
Approvals for surgeries and other invasive medical procedures involve more scrutiny from insurance companies. Questions often arise regarding whether the proposed surgery is medically appropriate, necessary, or capable of facilitating the injured worker’s return to work.
Insurance companies may take their time in evaluating the necessity of surgery, and these decisions can require a more extended review process. This contrasts with the typically quicker approval of physical therapy and medications, which are considered more conservative and cost-effective treatments.
What Are Your Options If You Disagree With The Recommended Treatment Plan In Your Workers’ Comp Case?
It’s crucial for injured workers to understand that they have a say in their treatment plans, even when the insurance company selects the treating physician.
If you disagree with the recommended treatment plan provided by the authorized medical providers, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with the treating physician. Engaging in a conversation about your treatment allows you to explore alternatives and voice your preferences.
- Requesting A Second Opinion
In North Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Act allows injured workers to request a second medical opinion. This option is valuable when you believe there may be alternative treatment plans better suited to your needs. A second opinion can provide clarity and potentially lead to more agreeable treatment options.
- Negotiating With The Insurance Company
If the second medical opinion yields different recommendations from the original treating physician, you may wonder whether these differences can be resolved. Negotiations between the injured worker, their legal representation, and the insurance company can help determine the best course of action moving forward.
It’s natural for injured workers to have concerns about the doctors selected by the insurance company. This arrangement can lead to anxiety and doubts about whether the selected treatment plan is genuinely in their best interest. In such situations, it’s essential for injured workers to stand firm and seek the best possible medical outcome.
How Do You Address Delays Or Challenges In Treatment During A Workers’ Comp Case?
Experiencing delays or challenges in receiving timely and appropriate medical treatment can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are avenues to address these issues within the workers’ compensation system.
- Expedited Medical Motions
The North Carolina Industrial Commission permits injured workers and their representatives to file expedited medical motions. If the insurance company ignores requests for authorization of prescribed treatments or fails to respond adequately, the Industrial Commission can step in and expedite a decision regarding the treatment.
- Effective Communication
To set up a case for success with the Industrial Commission, it’s crucial to maintain effective communication. Rather than relying on verbal communication, sending a copy of the treatment order signed by the treating physician to the adjuster can strengthen your case. This documented communication helps ensure that your treatment plan is clear and can be used as evidence in any future proceedings.
In conclusion, understanding the approval process for specific treatments within the workers’ compensation system is vital for injured workers. By knowing your rights, actively participating in your treatment decisions, and seeking legal representation when necessary, you can navigate the complex landscape of workers’ compensation treatment with confidence.
If you have questions or require assistance with your workers’ compensation case, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (833) 444-4127. We’re dedicated to ensuring that injured workers receive the appropriate care and support they need to return to work in the best possible condition.