Dealing with the recovery after getting injured at work can be a long and challenging process. One of the essential parts of this process is finding a doctor to diagnose and treat your injuries. Sometimes, though, your recovery can become more complicated if your physician seems to be unwilling to help you or to be just plain rude and unfriendly.
Many patients wonder if they are stuck with the initial workers’ comp doctor they choose if they are unhappy with treatment. The good news is there are a few things you can do if you encounter a workers’ comp physician you feel is dismissive or ill-mannered towards you.
What Should I Expect from a Workers’ Comp Physician?
A workers’ compensation physician is just like any other doctor in that he or she has the primary purpose of diagnosing and treating patients. As a patient, you should expect doctors to be courteous, professional, and listen to your concerns with care. Whether these doctors are chosen by the patient or by the workers’ compensation insurance, their primary concern should be patient care.
Many times, however, some doctors who have seen many injured workers may start to believe all of them are exaggerating or lying about their injuries.
While doctors should treat each patient with the utmost care and understanding, some physicians may become jaded from one or several experiences with patients who were less than truthful. In other cases, a doctor may just be plain rude. While your doctor is not required to be polite to you, you are not necessarily stuck dealing with the care you are unhappy with.
My Workers’ Comp Doctor Doesn’t Seem to Want to Help Me. What Should I Do?
If you have encountered a workers’ comp physician who seems unwilling to treat you or is impolite to you, there are a few steps you can take to try and rectify the situation.
- Maintain a cordial and friendly demeanor with the doctor and staff. While it is tempting to return rude behavior in kind, it is important to continue to be helpful and civilized with the staff and the doctor. By maintaining a positive demeanor, you make it harder for the doctor or staff to be unnecessarily rude to you. Besides, rude behavior will just encourage more of the same from the physician and staff. Keep a positive mindset and emphasize that you are doing all you can to recover.
- Take notes about your appointments and your experience at each one. Documenting details about your appointments will help you recall details if you need to later. It will also create a documented pattern of behavior for you to show someone, if necessary. Take note of the way the doctor interacted with you, how long your medical exam took, and any questions or details you can think of that may be relevant.
- If possible, bring someone along to your appointment. In addition to your own notes, having someone to accompany you to your appointments to take their own notes can be helpful as well. A third party can view the interactions and appointment objectively, and may be able to provide a fresh perspective to you or to help you describe problems later, if necessary.
- Continue to update your doctor with new information. Even if your doctor is dismissive or does not ask many questions, it is important to keep him or her updated about your condition and any changes. Make a point of letting your physician know about any new symptoms, increased pain, or restrictions to your activities. Take note of the information you have told your doctor so that you can compare these notes to medical records if you need to.
Am I Entitled to Seek a Second Opinion?
In New York, workers’ comp patients have the right to choose their doctor for treatment of their injuries. However, sometimes, you may have to see a doctor listed on your employer’s workers’ comp insurance plan for at least the first 90 days of treatment.
The good news is that if you have been unable to resolve the issues with your doctor, or you continue to be unhappy with your treatment, you are entitled to get a second opinion.
If your doctor was one you chose, you could see a different doctor at any time. If the doctor is one chosen by your insurance company, you may be stuck with them for 90 days. However, after those 90 days, you are free to choose a different doctor.
There are some risks to seeking a second opinion. If your new doctor finds nothing different than the old doctor, then the results may not change concerning your benefits.
Additionally, there is always the possibility that the new doctor could think you are less injured than your previous doctor did, prompting the insurance company to decrease or discontinue benefits. These are risks to consider when changing doctors. However, it may be worth it to you to see a doctor who will treat you kindly and listen to you.
How Can I Make Sure I Choose a Good New York Workers’ Comp Physician?
Whether you are in the early stages of seeking treatment or looking to get a second opinion, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a workers’ comp doctor. Making sure you carefully and thoughtfully select your treatment provider will ensure that you have a higher chance of having the best experience possible.
- Look at patient reviews and testimonials. There are many websites dedicated to reviews of physicians. Check these sites and see what other patients before have had to say. See if they mention any dismissive or rude behavior, and look for whether patients were happy with their overall experience.
- Check that a doctor is authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. In New York, doctors must be an authorized New York State Workers’ Compensation Board medical provider to treat workers’ comp patients. You can quickly check their website for a list of doctors who are certified or to check if a specific doctor is a WCB authorized provider.
- Ask family and friends for recommendations. Asking for recommendations can help you find a doctor that you know people are happy with. Ask friends, family members, or colleagues if they have any doctors they recommend for treatment, and ask if they were happy with their treatment. Even better if you know someone who went through the workers’ comp process who can tell you whether they recommend their doctor.
- Search for physicians with experience treating workers’ comp patients. While experience treating workers’ comp patients is not required, it is a helpful factor to consider. Physicians who have treated patients for on-the-job injuries will be familiar with the workers’ comp process and know what questions to ask and what injuries to look for in specific situations.
Contact an Experienced New York Workers’ Comp Physician Today
If you have been injured at work, the doctor who treats your injuries will play an essential role in your recovery. Physicians listed in our free directory have many years of experience treating injured workers, and our goal is your recovery, no matter who has asked us to treat the patient. They have experience dealing with insurance companies and have seen many kinds of workplace injuries, giving them the expertise to handle your case efficiently and with proper care.
Call (888) 590-4030 if you need help with finding a qualified workers’ comp doctor near you.