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Can my personal physician treat me for a work injury?

When an employee needs to file a workers' compensation claim, having the right physician is essential. Not only can a good doctor help you get better; a good doctor can also help you get workers' compensation benefits.

One way to ensure the quality of a physician is to select your doctor ahead of time through predesignation. There are a few things to know about the designation process.

Why predesignate?

California has created Medical Provider Networks (MPNs) to diagnose and treat work injuries and illnesses. Most employers in California have an MPN that has been approved by the California Division of Workers' Compensation. Generally, if your employer has an MPN, you have to be treated for work injuries by a medical provider who is in the network.

However, you may be able to predesignate your personal medical doctor to treat you in the event of a work injury or illness. Employees choose to predesignate when they want to ensure that the doctor who treats them will take the time to listen and provide treatment that is appropriate for the injury.

The process

There are three main requirements in the predesignation process:

  1. Your employer must offer group health coverage.
  2. Prior to an injury, your personal medical doctor must agree to treat you for work injuries or illnesses.
  3. Prior to an injury, you must provide your employer with written notice that you want to designate your personal medical doctor. This notice should include the doctor's name and business address.

All of these requirements must be met before any injury for the predesignation to be valid.

For more on receiving specialized medical care after a work injury, please see our workers' comp and MPN overview.

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