Did you know that many injured workers have difficulties obtaining an “attending physician” for their claims?
The role of attending physician (AP) is incredibly important. The AP certifies entitlement to benefits and makes treatment recommendations. APs also make appropriate referrals and their opinion is given special consideration.
While injured workers may choose their own AP, those physicians must be in the Department’s Medical Provider Network (MPN). On top, the physician must be willing to see and treat the injured worker.
For older or more complicated claims this can be a significant issue. This week I worked with three injured workers whose APs retired or left the area. Some of them have been searching for a new AP for months, but providers aren’t willing to accept them. As a result my clients are receiving letters demanding that they identify a new AP. Moreover, they are receiving threats of termination of benefits if not certified by new AP.
For these injured workers it is a dire situation. There’s a reason members of the MPN don’t want to get involved in these cases. Those reasons should be identified and addressed! I’m disappointed that this issue isn’t more widely recognized and that no one is taking steps to ensure that injured workers can find willing attending physicians when needed.