What is a Primary Treating Physician in a Workers’ Compensation Claim in California?

Were you hurt on the job in California? You have the right to seek immediate medical care from a qualified doctor. Your primary treating physician will play a key role in care. Indeed, it is this medical professional who is in charge of ensuring that you receive the proper care and that your treatment is well-documented for the purposes of a workers’ comp claim. Within this blog post, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer explains the most important things that injured workers should know about primary treating physicians in California.  

Know the Law: Primary Treating Physician in a California Workers’ Comp Claim

Under California law (California Labor Code § 9785), the primary treating physician is defined as the doctor who has the main responsibility for “managing the care of an employee.” In a workerscompensation claim, a primary treating physician must have examined the injured workerat least once for the purpose of rendering or prescribing treatment” and he or she must also have “monitored the effect of the treatment thereafter.”

The Primary Treating Physician Plays a Big Role in Your Workers’ Comp Claim

Your primary treating physician plays a major role in your workerscompensation claim. Indeed, it is their professional medical assessment that will go a long way towards forming the foundation of your workerscompensation claim. Among other things, this doctor will delineate your work restrictions—detailing what you can and cannot do—assess the progress of your recovery, and decide the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). and provide key reports of your injuries. 

Who Chooses the Primary Treating Physician in a Workers’ Comp Claim in California?

In California, for a workers’ comp claim, the injured worker can choose the primary treating physician who will manage their treatment. However, this choice is initially limited if the employer has a Medical Provider Network (MPN) or a Health Care Organization (HCO) contracted for care. If the employer has an MPN or HCO, the worker must select a doctor from that network for the first 30 days after the injury is reported. 

What to Know About Changing Your Primary Treating Physician (After 30 Days)

You generally have the right to change your primary treating physician to another doctor after 30 days have passed if you still need additional medical care related to your work-related injury. In California, you can typically select any doctor as your primary treating physician—including many types of specialists—as long as they are willing to accept the role and are competent to provide services within the context of the workerscompensation claims process. 

Set Up a Confidential Consultation With a Top Fresno Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top-rated California workers’ comp attorney. If you have any questions about medical care and workers’ comp claims, we are more than ready to help protect your rights. Call us now or contact us online for your fully confidential initial case evaluation. From our Fresno office, we are well-situated to represent injured workers throughout the region.