There are a couple of provisions in the Oregon Workers' Compensation statute that tell us who can treat an on-the-job injury for an injured worker. The first place to look is at the definition of an "attending physician"
in the statute, an "attending physician" is a doctor, physician, or a physician Assistant who is primarily responsible for the treatment of your compensable injury. However, there are a lot of qualifications. If the physician is a Doctor of Osteopathic the, or a Medical Doctor licensed in the State of Oregon, that type of physician can remain your attending physician throughout the life of the claim.
Chiropractic physicians, Physician Assistants, or a Naturopathic physicians can act as the attending physician for either 60 days from the first visit or for a total of 18 visits, whichever occurs first.
The administrative rules also provide that Nurse Practitioners can act as attending physicians for limited periods of time. There are exceptions if the Nurse Practitioner is providing care under the direct supervision of a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic.
Another part of the Workers' Compensation system dictates who can treat your injury if your insurance company or employer contracts with a "Managed Care Organization" or "MCO." These organizations are like health maintenance organizations. If the insurance company contracts with an MCO to provide your care, then you must treat with a physician who is a member of the MCO panel. There are some exceptions, but this often creates another level of bureaucracy that impedes an injured worker's access to health care.
Even if you have an accepted claim, the attending physician can play a major role in determining whether not you are entitled to certain medical care, and whether your claim remains open, closed, and whether not you qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. The good news is that the statute allows you to change her attending physician, but only for a limited number of times.
Even if you have an accepted workers' compensation claim, you may have questions, and can call us at 503-325-8600. We can discuss the issues in your case, and help you determine whether not you need an attorney in the first place. If you do, we only get paid if we get a benefit for you that's been denied or underpaid.