ALWAYS, seek medical care every thirty days from your attending physician. In regards to the attending physician, it is very important to understand what constitutes an authorized attending physician. Clients must be seeing the proper doctors, that are not only authorized to treat per the complicated Oregon Regulations, but who are competent and skilled in their particular areas of practice. The most commonly recognized doctors acting as attending physicians in Oregon Workers’ Compensation claims are Medical Doctors and Doctors of Osteopathy. Less recognized are chiropractic Physicians, Naturopathic Physicians and Physician Assistants. The less recognized providers, just mentioned, are very limited in how long they can treat injured workers, authorize ongoing time loss and provide closing examination evaluations for injured workers. A skilled attorney will be able to assist you with this, make recommendations and explain the pitfalls of certain doctor selections.
The second mistake as mentioned at the beginning of this discussion is the failure to get updated off work slips from the recognized attending physician. Under the Oregon Rules, only a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Podiatric Physician and Surgeon can AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF TIME LOSS (temporary disability) AND RELEASE THE WORKER TO WORK. The less recognized doctors such as the Chiropractic Physician, naturopathic Physician, and the Physician Assistant can only authorize time loss 30 days from the date of the first visit on the initial claim, if within the 18 visit period.
The 18 visit period is another restriction placed on these less recognized providers. Meaning, the Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Physician Assistant can only treat an injured worker for a total of 60 consecutive days or 18 visits, from the date of the initial visit on the initial claim.
As mentioned above, the failure to have a recognized attending physician address the off work needs of the injured worker and provide the insurance company with this information, can result in time loss ending or incurring large overpayments on the claim.
For example, if the workers’ compensation carrier does not receive the monthly off-work slip requirement from the attending physician they are no longer obligated to pay ongoing time loss. Even worse, if the workers compensation carrier continues to pay time loss without a valid slip from the doctor, and if the doctor refuses to update this information or feels that the injured worker should have been released to work months ago, all of the time loss payments received from the insurance company could be considered an overpayment, that would have to be repaid in some manner by the injured worker.