No. In Kentucky, you get to pick the doctor to treat your work related injury. If your boss, the workers’ compensation adjuster, or a nurse case manager tell you otherwise, they are wrong. The law that allows you to pick your own doctor is KRS 342.020(1).
I have written about his before, but it is important to talk about it again because I estimate over 75% of the injured workers I meet with were told they had to go to a company doctor. They have a hard time believing they were given wrong information. If they still doubt me, I have them call a Workers Compensation Specialist at the Kentucky Department of Workers Claims, (502)564-5550. These are unbiased government employees who give information to injured workers about Kentucky workers’ compensation laws.
The only thing that can prevent you from treating with your own doctor is if the employer participates in a managed care plan. Only a very few employers have managed care plans. This is like an HMO for work related injuries. But, even in a Managed Care Plan, the employee gets to pick from a list of doctors, and does not have to treat with any one doctor.
Why would injured workers be misled about who can treat them? It could be the employer or workers compensation adjuster are just confused about Kentucky law. Some states allow the employer to pick the doctor, and adjusters sometimes work in several states. But, it is more likely the employer or insurance carrier is trying to save money. By steering injured workers to doctors that are less likely to order treatment and return the injured worker to their job sooner, they can save the company money. Because medical treatment is expensive, and because more treatment can increase impairment ratings, there is a huge incentive to mislead the injured worker about the doctor they choose.
Why else is it important to pick your own doctor? To get the quality treatment you deserve sooner, so you can heal faster and get out of pain. I always recommend you first go to your family doctor for treatment. They usually want to make you feel better, not save the company money. They can also recommend specialists that think like them and want to help patients, not the company. In my opinion, the main reason the company wants you to go to their doctor is just to save money. If you want the best treatment, I recommend you go to your family doctor, not the company doctor.