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Can you choose your own doctor to treat a workplace illness?

When an employee finds himself facing a work-related illness, the main concerns that arise immediately are ability to recover and finding ways to fund the new financial burden. Once the initial confusion subsides and details begin falling into place, additional questions may arise.

Workers' compensation claims help give financial assistance to employees suffering from workplace illness so they can focus on healing. Employees may wonder, however, what restrictions might come along with the financial support. One concern often raised is an employee's ability to choose the person's attending physician. When work conditions result in illnesses such as cancer or lung problems, the long-term medical care can be a daunting venture. It is not uncommon to desire making this journey with your own physician who already knows you so well.

As stated by the State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, an employee's ability to choose a treating physician depends on the stage of the medical treatment process. After an injury or newly reported illness, the claimant employee is authorized to receive all medical treatment that is necessary and appropriate. The employer furnishes the initial medical treatment at a designated facility. Any claimant refusing the employer's initial medical care may risk their right to workers' compensation benefits.

After the initial treatment, a claimant is able to choose an attending physician. The person's choice may be unrestricted if the employer does not participate in an approved medical care plan. If the employer does have a specified medical plan, however, a claimant must choose a physician from the approved list of doctors. Choosing a doctor outside the plan may jeopardize an employee's compensation benefits.

Most individuals do everything possible to get back on their feet as soon as possible. Embarking on the recovery process may be easier to fathom when one's own physician can be brought in to lead the way. Workers' compensation benefits take this into consideration so an ill employee can hopefully have one less thing to worry about.

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