Knowing and understanding medical
providers is very important to your recovery. The more you know about the
people treating you, the better you will understand the recovery process.
Workerscompensation.com makes finding, researching and choosing a physician or
medical provider easy. Just scroll for the type of physician and then select
your city. You will then find a list of recommended physicians in the
particular specialty in your area. These are all physicians who have treated
injured workers and who are familiar with the workers' compensation system in
Choosing a physician is a personal matter.
However, you may first need to obtain prior authorization before seeing a
particular physician of your choice. (See Authorization.) A medical doctor
usually has at least twenty years of formal education, plus several years of
hands-on experience, while completing his internship and residency. This
education and experience in treating your particular problem should be a
primary consideration. Board-certification shows a higher degree of training
and experience and is an important factor to consider.
Before you decide which doctor to choose,
you need to know what type of doctor to look for. Today's doctors are very
specialized and limit their practice to one or two areas. Below is a general
outline of some of the types of physicians who treat workers' compensation and
how and what they do.
Family or general practice
physician: Usually a physician who is on the front line of treatment. When
you are initially injured, he can treat your injuries in the beginning and
prescribe the necessary medications. He is often the primary care physician and
may make referrals to other specialists.
Orthopaedic physician: Generally
diagnoses and treats disease and injuries to the bones or joints. Some
specialize in backs, necks, knees, hands, shoulders and surgery to these areas.
Highly trained in surgery to these areas.
Neurosurgeon: Generally diagnoses
and treats injuries to the brain, head, neck, back and neurological problems
relating to these areas. Highly trained in surgery in these areas.
Neurologist: Generally diagnoses
and treats injuries to nerves and diseases affecting nerves. This doctor,
highly trained in testing procedures, does not do surgery.
Physiatrist: Generally treats
injuries and problems which are not surgical in nature or people who have had
surgery and need rehabilitation. This doctor does not do surgery.
Physical Medicine and
Rehabilitation: Generally treats injuries and pain and related problems
with medicine and rehabilitative techniques.
Pain Management Specialist:
Generally treats pain and related problems of a chronic nature with medicine
and some invasive surgery.
Psychiatrist: Generally diagnoses
and treats mental injuries and problems associated therewith. May refer to
psychologist for testing or counseling. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and
can prescribe medication.
General Surgeon: Generally
diagnoses and treats injuries which need surgery and are not in the
orthopaedist or neurosurgeon's expertise.
Ophthalmologist: Generally treats
and diagnoses problems and injuries to the visual senses.
Cardiologist: Generally treats and
diagnoses heart problems.
Chiropractor: Generally treats and
diagnoses spinal and soft- tissue injuries of a nonsurgical nature. Renders
therapy to treat problems resulting from a lack of normal nerve functions.
Employs manipulation and adjustments to body structure.
Psychologist: Generally diagnoses
and treats mental and behaviorial problems or depression or psychological or
psychiatric problems from injuries. Highly trained in testing procedures and