One of the most important parts of your workers’ compensation matter is your medical care and treatment. The extent and nature your Connecticut workplace injuries will largely determine the type of medical care and treatment that you will require. Some workplace injuries resolve quickly, and the injured employee will return to work without much delay. However, other injuries are permanent and can have life-lasting implications.
Getting Medical Treatment
Your medical care is the most immediate concern in cases of workplace injury or in cases of occupational disease or illness. The entire goal of our workers’ compensation system is to get an injured employee necessary medical treatment, and then to get the employee back to work! Under Connecticut’s workers’ compensation law, the employer is responsible to designate a medical facility, or a particular doctors’ group, for the employee’s initial medical treatment. Then, after this initial medical treatment, the injured employee gets to select their “attending physician” for the remainder of their case. In uncommon situations, where your employer has a designated Medical Care Plan, which has already been approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission Chairman’s Office, then your choice of physician is limited to the doctors within the approved plan.
Assuming your case is an approved case, meaning that your employer is not contesting liability for your injuries, all bills for your medical care and treatment will be fully paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. They are not your responsibility. This is part of the legal bargain between you and your employer. You agreed not to sue your employer for your workplace injury, and your employer agreed to provide you with necessary benefits. Chief among your workers’ compensation benefits is the payment of your medical treatment bills. The medical bills for your injury or your occupational illness should be paid directly to your doctors by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
You should provide as much information to your doctor’s office about your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits when you first start your medical care and treatment. Your medical treatment bills must be sent directly from your doctor to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The bills should never be sent to you for payment. It is against Connecticut law for your doctor to ask you to pay for medical treatment for your work-related injury. In addition, it is illegal to refuse to provide you with necessary medical care because the doctor has not (yet) been paid for previously rendered medical services related to your workers’ compensation claim.
A few other things you should know:
- You are entitled to a copy of your medical reports concerning your workplace injuries. Under our law, you are fully entitled to a copy of every medical report by every doctor and medical practitioner that provided care for your injury or illness. You are entitled to receive these written reports in the same manner and time as your employer or its worker’s compensation insurance carrier. If you have retained legal counsel, the written reports will be provided to your attorney.
- You are also entitled to payment of your prescription medications. Prescriptions authorized by your treating physician as part of your medical treatment for your workplace injury or illness are fully covered under our workers’ compensation system. All expenses for your prescriptions should be paid directly by your employer or by its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You should not have to pay for them or seek reimbursement.
- You are also entitled to be paid for your time in receiving medical care and treatment. You are entitled to this benefit even if you have returned to work but still require continued medical care and treatment. Any employee who needs medical care and treatment for their workplace injury or illness should obtain their treatment during their normal working hours, if possible. The injured employee should be paid by their employer at their normal earnings rate (if the employee is not already receiving wage replacement benefits because they are still out of work). Your employer cannot make you obtain medical care and treatment outside of your normal working hours if your treatment is available during your regular work hours. If for some reason, you cannot obtain treatment during your normal work hours, then you should receive care when it is available, and your employer must reimburse you for your time at your average hourly rate.
If you have questions about your medical care and treatment, or your available benefits under workers’ compensation law, you should contact one of our workers’ compensation attorneys.