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Addressing concerns about seeing long-distance doctors

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, securing a treating doctor covered by workers’ comp is often a major concern. Employers in the Tennessee workers’ compensation program must provide an injured employee with a list of three doctors to choose from no longer than three business days following notification of a workplace injury.

With an authorized care provider, a hurt worker does not have to worry about mounting medical bills since workers’ comp insurance will cover the treatment costs. However, not all injured workers have an authorized provider within close traveling distance.

The location of a treating doctor

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the doctors chosen by an employer should be in the community where the worker lives. However, sometimes employees who live in a sparsely populated area or their home community simply lacks the specialist needed to care for the injury.

In such cases, an employer can compensate by listing authorized providers within a range of 125 miles from the community where the employee lives.

Compensating workers for travel

Traveling a long way to see a doctor could put a strain on the resources of a worker. To assist with travel, injured workers may collect mileage reimbursement. To qualify, an employee must travel in an excess of 15 miles one way to seek treatment from an authorized doctor.

Offering faster options

Though state regulations do not require it, employers could give injured workers ways to get medical treatment using methods that do not require long travel. With Telehealth, an injured employee may contact a care worker without having to venture outside of home.

Investigating options with an employer may be of benefit if workplace injuries make it hard to travel. Still, workers should know that their employers have certain obligations under workers’ compensation law to assist in identifying physicians who can help treat an injury.

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