What is the role of the Attending Physician or Attending Provider in my L&I claim?

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Role of Attending Physician in your L&I claim or workers’ comp claim

Work injury claimants must designate an attending provider or attending physician (AP) on their L&Iclaim or workers’ compensation claim. In simple terms, the attending physician is the medical provider that manages treatment. They also report your progress to L&I. Furthermore, the attending doctor also assesses your medical ability to return to work. The doctor performs evaluations in regular intervals throughout your L&I claim.

What makes a “good” attending provider?

It is the injured worker who gets to choose their attending provider. However, the attending provider must be within L&I’s Medical Provider Network (MPN). On top, the attending provider must be willing to see the worker. Work injury claimants often ask me what kind of attending physician they need to choose. Many are concerned with finding a provider that will be “good” for their case. They often believe that in order for the provider to be “good” they must be a Medical Doctor (MD). Indeed, the opinions of medical doctors can sometimes carry greater weight than others. However, I don’t always agree that medical doctors make the best attending physicians.

Usually, I tell work injury clients to select an attending provider they are comfortable with. It’s important for work injury claimants to have good communication with their providers. After all, you must feel comfortable with the medical advice that your doctor gives you. You must also be comfortable to ask questions. On top, it’s very important to have an attentive provider. The attending physician must pay attention to all the facts and the details in your L&I claim. The attending provider must also provide appropriate and well-reasoned treatment recommendations and referrals. Moreover, they must be willing to respond to inquiries from L&I.

Observations and tips

There are many kinds of medical professionals that can serve as the attending provider. This includes medical doctors (MD), osteopathic doctors (DO), chiropractors (DC or DCM), and naturopaths (ND). The list also includes physicians’ assistants (PA-C), and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP).

Many work injury claimants surprisingly find out that their “family doctor” or “primary care physician” is within the medical provider network. Therefore, their doctor can take the role of the attending provider. Hence, it’s best to take your time and do some research. After a workplace injury, you can also change the attending physician by filling out a Transfer of Care card. Finally, work injury claimants can search for an attending physician by going over the list of MPN providers. The list is available on L&I’s Find a Doc website.