Iowa Workers’ Compensation Tips: Is Your Medical Treatment Authorized by Your Employer?

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Posted by Emily Anderson

Attention! Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation laws changed July 1, 2017. This article’s information may be out of date. Visit our Workers’ Compensation Page for more information.

Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation law, if your workers’ compensation claim has been “accepted” by the insurance company, then the insurance company has the right to choose who provides your medical treatment.  If you choose to get treatment on your own, that may come with consequences.

If an authorized doctor takes you off of work, or assigns work restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate, you are likely entitled to receive weekly workers’ compensation benefits during the time you are off work.  However, if a non-authorized doctor takes you off of work, the insurance carrier will likely deny weekly benefits during the time you miss work.  While you may be entitled to reimbursement of those weekly benefits, there is no guarantee a workers’ compensation judge will grant your request.

Next, you will likely end up with unnecessary medical bills, as your employer or its insurance company will only pay for treatment it authorizes.  Again, while you may be able to seek reimbursement for those bills, the judge may not grant your request.

However, you do have rights if you feel you are not getting proper medical treatment by the doctor that was provided for you.  The insurance carrier has an obligation to authorize reasonable care after a work injury.  If the injured worker can be establish that the care being offered is not reasonable, and there is an alternative, you can seek relief from a workers’ compensation judge to obtain alternate medical care.  In this situation, it would be advantageous to seek help from a qualified Iowa Workers Compensation attorney who can work with you on filing a petition for alternate care with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation agency.

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