Choosing and Changing Doctors With Your Defense Base Act Benefits
The most important thing to remember about choosing a treating physician for your injury is that you only get one free choice. If you disagree with the doctor you have chosen, you cannot change doctors unless you have your employer’s permission to do so. For this reason, it is vital to select your treating doctor very carefully.
Here are a few more things to be wary of when seeking treatment for a DBA injury:
Defense medical evaluations.
Your DBA insurance carrier can require you to attend a medical evaluation by a doctor who is in its employ or whom the insurer has chosen. You will have to attend this medical evaluation, or your compensation can be suspended. This does not affect your ability to choose and visit your own physician for treatment, and you are not required to be treated by any doctor chosen by your employer or insurance company. Even worse, the insurance companies call these doctors "Independent Medical Evaluations" or IME's. Know this, 95% of the time there is nothing "Independent" about these doctors.
Your DBA benefits should cover any reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury. However, your employer or insurer may only pay for specialized care that is located near your home. For example, you have the right to consult with an orthopedic surgeon if your injury requires it, but your employer does not have to pay for one who is located hundreds of miles away, even if you prefer that surgeon’s care.
All of the fees you incur at your medical appointments should be reimbursed by the DBA insurance company, including mileage, prescription medication costs, copays, etc.
Your free choice physician can refer you to other medical specialties and/or specialists. For example, an orthopedist doctor can refer you to a neurologist.
Choose very, very carefully. If you choose the wrong "free choice physician" it can be very, very damaging to your case.