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Injured workers often denied the right to choose their doctors

Under the state's workers' compensation laws, New Jersey is one of a number of states that allows employers to direct the medical care of injured workers and choose the medical providers. Though physicians in New Jersey are free to charge their usual rates to patients covered by workers' compensation, physicians that do not comply with the employers demand on what fees to set will usually not be approved for care.

The problem with such a scenario is that it will greatly limit the patient's choice of care. This in turn will limit the injured workers input into the kind of care he should receive. This gives employers too much control over denying certain types of care that they may believe to be inappropriate or outside the scope of what they believe workers' compensation claims should cover.

Such a circumstance is contradictory to the intent of workers' compensation laws. The laws were put in place to prevent employers from disclaiming any obligation to pay the medical expenses for work related injuries. For example, if an employer believes that chiropractic care is inappropriate treatment for a worker's injuries, they can direct the employee to a clinic that will not provide such chiropractic care.

Because some employers are creating justifications for not paying certain physicians while paying others, filing a workers' compensation claims can be incredibly difficult. It's for this reason why injured workers might want to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Since it is the worker that will suffer the consequences of his work related injuries, that same worker should have the right to choose what medical care he or she receives.

Source: Physicians News Digest, "The Erosion of Workers Compensation Reimbursement and Patient Choice," by Franklin J. Rooks, Jr. PT, MBA, Esq., May 16, 2012

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