This issue, more than any other in workers’ compensation claims, can increase the overall exposure in any claim by taking the employer/carrier’s right to control medical care and putting the control of medical care in the hands of the claimant. Because of its importance and the likelihood that if specifically requested the employer/carrier will timely respond, claimant attorneys hide the request in grievances, discovery requests and correspondence or will merely cite F.S. 440.13(2)(f) and list a doctor. As such, anyone handling workers’ compensation claims must be constantly aware.
Once it is determined that a request for one time change in physician has been made, the following are the general aspects of the one time change issue that one must be aware of when responding: a one time change in physician is mandatory and absolute (must be authorized even if initial authorized doctor opined that accident no longer MCC of need for treatment); the response must be within 5 calendar days, not business days; the response must authorize a specific physician (not merely acknowledge entitlement); the claimant’s right to select a physician upon an untimely response is not absolute, but merely an option which can be waived.