You have the right to choose your own doctor to treat your work related injuries. You can go to an emergency room, an urgent care facility, or your family physician. You can see a general practitioner, a specialist, a chiropractor–whatever kind of doctor you want to see–as long as he or she is BWC certified.
Your employer may direct you to an occupational health center. These doctors contract with your employer to provide medical treatment for injuries that occur on the job. Because these doctors contract with your employer, they focus on returning you to work as quickly as possible with as little treatment or evaluation as possible. In other words, they help your employer keep the costs on your workers’ compensation claim low. In most cases, it may be in your best interest to get back to work quickly, but in other cases you may need time to recuperate from your injury, or you may need testing and evaluation to determine the extent of your injury. An occupational health doctor is serving two masters–and your needs may be overshadowed by your employer’s desire to have you back to work without expensive medical care.
If you are directed to an occupational health center by your employer, you are not required to go under Ohio workers’ compensation law. You may be required under a union contract to see a specific physician regarding your ability to work, but you can then go to whomever you choose for treatment and follow up care. You should choose a doctor who is able to treat you and attend to your medical needs, and who is familiar with the workers’ compensation system. When a workers’ compensation claim is involved, you need a doctor who can provide good medical treatment, but you also need a doctor who is willing to complete your paperwork and fight for you if treatment is denied. If you do begin treament with a doctor chosen by your employer, you can easily change to a doctor of your choice by completing a Change of Physician Form.
If you need to know if a doctor is certified by the BWC to treat work related injuries, you can use the BWC website to find out at https://www.ohiobwc.com/provider/services/providerlookup/nlbwc/default.asp. Make sure you get the proper medical care that you need after a work related injury. It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself after an accident on the job.