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. Workers compensation.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 your area.
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 behavioral problems or depression or psychological or psychiatric problems from injuries. Highly trained in testing procedures and counseling.