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Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries — With Your Own Doctor

Posted on in First Responders

Remember, report all work injuries. Seek treatment for your injuries. Seek treatment with your own doctor.

In the last blog, “Report work-related accidents,” we discussed how the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act provides the only remedy against your department for on the job injuries and how important it is to report your work injuries, no matter how minor, in a timely manner. If you have suffered a work injury, you have a right to seek medical treatment for that injury — with your own doctor — at your department's expense.

Your department cannot control your medical treatment or direct where you can go to get the medical treatment you need because of your work injury. You do not have to go to the company clinic for treatment. You have the right to choose to treat with your own doctor free from any influence of a "company" doctor. That may be your family doctor, a specialist, a chiropractor, or any other medical provider that you choose.

This choice does not limit you to just one doctor. You also may treat with any doctor or medical professional that your choice of doctor may refer you to for additional treatment. For example, you may choose to treat with your family doctor. That physician may refer you to a specialist. That specialist may refer you to physical therapy. Your department must pay all the medical bills from these three providers.

What if you aren't happy with the treatment you received from these providers? Illinois workers' compensation law's "2 choice rule" allows you to make a second choice of doctors, with the same referral rights as your first choice.

What if you had no say in choosing your first doctor because the first doctor that treated you was at the emergency room? The emergency room doctor does not count as one of your choices of doctors. Upon your discharge from the emergency room, you are free to make your first choice of doctors.

From time to time, your employer does have the right to send you for an evaluation with a doctor of its choice. This type of evaluation, known as an Independent Medical Examination, does not count as choice of doctors. It is for an evaluation only.

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act mandates that your department must pay for 100% of the medical treatment you require because of your work injury. There are no co-pays you need to make. There is no balance billing that is allowed. And if you have filed a workers' compensation case at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, your medical providers cannot pursue a collection action against you in court while your case is pending for any medical bills that your department refuses to pay.

Remember, report all work injuries. Seek treatment for your injuries. Seek treatment with your own doctor.

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