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Workers’ Compensation and Primary Treating Physicians

Primary Treating Physicians are an important aspect of an injured worker’s claim for compensation.  Doctors in this position oftentimes play a significant role in the decision as to whether or not an injured worker’s claim for compensation and benefits is accepted.  The following are some frequently asked questions regarding Primary Treating Physicians in California:

Q:  What role does the Primary Treating Physician play in a California workers’ compensation case?

A:  The Primary Treating Physician is a physician or doctor who is predominantly responsible for managing an injured worker’s medical treatment.  The Primary Treating Physician is an individual who has typically examined an injured worker at least one time for purposes of prescribing or rendering medical treatment and usually monitors the effects that the treatment has on the worker.  The Primary Treating Physician also has a responsibility to obtain the reports generated by secondary physicians, and they must comment on or incorporate the opinions and findings of these other doctors in their own report.

Q:  Can an injured worker choose their own Primary Treating Physician? 

A:  Yes.  The injured worker can choose their Primary Treating Physician.  However, the injured worker’s employer or the claims administrator may also select the worker’s Primary Treating Physician.

Q:  What is a secondary physician? 

A:  Secondary physicians are doctors other than the Primary Treating Physician and who examine an injured worker and provide them with treatment.  However, secondary physicians do not have the primary responsibility for managing the continuing care of the injured worker.

Q:  What is continuing medical treatment? 

A:  Continuing medical treatment is treatment that an injured worker is currently receiving or will be receiving that is reasonably required to relieve or cure the worker of the effects of their injury.

Q:  What are medical determinations and what is their purpose? 

A:  Primary Treating Physicians make medical determinations or decisions about any and all medical issues that might be necessary for deciphering the injured worker’s ultimate eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.  The medical issues that Primary Treating Physicians might make decisions about include the type of treatment that is necessary; the extent and the scope of the injured worker’s continuing medical treatment; whether the worker has reached stationary or permanent status; whether the worker can be released from medical care; and, whether the worker will need any medical treatment in the future.

Q:  What is future medical treatment?

A:  Future medical treatment is treatment that the injured worker might anticipate receiving sometime in the future and it is treatment that is reasonably necessary to relieve or cure the injured worker of the effects of their injury.

Q:  What happens when a Primary Treating Physician releases an injured worker from their care?

A:  When a Primary Treating Physician decides that an injured worker’s medical treatment is no longer necessary, they will release them from care.  This is an assessment by the Primary Treating Physician that the condition of the injured worker has reached a stationary or permanent status such that they no longer require continuing or future medical treatment.

Experienced and Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California

If you have sustained a workplace injury or illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under California’s workers’ compensation lawAlbert E. Hirst, III, has extensive experience dealing with the cases of injured workers and he has the skills, knowledge, and the resources necessary to help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.  Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free initial consultation and discover what we can do to help you.