Georgia Workers Compensation Law requires the employer to post a panel of physicians posted in a prominent spot in your workplace. The panel must meet one of the following requirements or the panel is invalid.
Option 1 – Panel of Physicians
This panel must include at least six (6) physicians or professional associations. The makeup of the panel must include one orthopedic surgeon, a minority physician where possible and four other properly qualified physicians, but no more than two (2) industrial clinics. The employer determines the physicians to be included on the panel, and if the panel meets the above requirements, the employer maintains control of the physicians as the injured worker is limited to select from this list. The panel doctor is the primary authorized treating physician. The injured worker is allowed one change to another doctor on the panel without approval by the court.
Option 2 – Conformed Panel
The Conformed Panel requires a minimum of ten (10) physicians or professional associations. In addition to the physician requirements for the traditional Panel of Physicians, the Conformed Panel must include a general surgeon and chiropractor. The major difference between the traditional Panel of Physicians and the Conformed Panel is the expanded number of physicians or professional associations and the addition of general surgeon and chiropractor. The injured worker is allowed one change to another doctor on the panel without approval by the court.
Option 3 – Managed Care Organization
The Managed Care Organization (MCO) provision allows insurers and employers to contract with a Board Certified MCO to provide a health care program for injured workers. This program is to include: health care providers and financial incentives to reduce service costs and utilization, peer review, service utilization review, dispute resolution, safety and an early return-to-work program. Participating organizations are required to provide each covered employee with an information card that explains how the program works and a toll-free, 24-hour telephone number to call in the event of an on-the-job injury. The employer must post the MCO procedures in prominent places on the business premises. With this option, the injured worker cannot see physicians off of this list, even if they are referred by the authorized treating physician (ATP).
The panel must be completely filled out and posted in a conspicuous place in every location. The employer is also required to advise all employees of the panel and document each employee’s personnel file that they have been made aware of the current panel.
If you were injured at work you need to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Only a lawyer in that field of expertise will be able to tell you your rights in your unique situation. Call 404.876.4200 today for a free consultation. The attorneys at ReisLaw are dedicated to Georgia Workers.