Along with the shield against tort claims that arise out of and in the course of employment, Employers have the unique right of controlling who the injured Employee treats with after the accident. The Employer is required to post a list of physicians who the Employer has confidence will treat its Employee’s fairly. This list of often referred to as the “Panel of Physicians.”
Employer may maintain a traditional panel of physicians that shall consist of at least six (6) non-associated physicians. Employers are allowed to have more than six physicians on this panel as well. The minimum panel shall include an orthopedic physician, and no more than two physicians shall be from industrial clinics. This panel shall include a minority physician, where feasible.
Employers may maintain a list of physicians that shall be known as the conformed panel of physicians, which shall include a minimum of 10 physicians or professional associations. The physicians and groups listed on the panel shall be counted as a separate choice from the others listed only if they are not associated with other physicians or groups on the panel. This panel includes the same physicians required in the traditional panel, plus a chiropractor and a general surgeon.
Finally, Employers may contract with a Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization (WCMCO) certified by the Board. A “WCMCO” provides for the delivery and management of treatment to injured employees with a complex network of physicians. The WCMCO sets its own rules and regulations for treating the Employees.
As a matter of course, Employers must post the panel in prominent places around the work area or in the case of a WCMCO, provide a toll-free number to every Employee where she can facilitate treatment. Moreover, Employers must fully explain the purpose of the panel to all Employees and must assist Employees in obtaining medical care when an injury occurs.
An Employee may select any physician on the panel and may make one change to another physician on the panel without approval of the Employer. Further changes require approval of the Board or by agreement of the parties.