Your Privacy Rights as an Injured Worker at your Doctors Appointments
Know that you have a right to privacy at your doctors appointments.
Too often, I have client’s tell me that a representative of the insurance carrier was present at their doctor’s appointment. I will tell you that it is never a good idea. Think about it this way… in workers compensation, although the Judge will make the decision as to your entitlement to benefits, it is actually your doctors who control your case. There is a reason the carrier wants to have someone present at your appointment and I can assure you it is not to make sure you are getting excellent care. They are there to make sure that they maintain control over your claim and to influence your medical treatment. By controlling your treatment and influencing the doctor, they are trying to decrease the amount of medical treatment/prescriptions/diagnostic testing that is recommended by the doctor, which decreases what they have to spend on your case.
Florida Statute 440.13 states that the Carrier or a representative of the carrier is allowed to speak with your physician(s) about your care. However, what it does not state is that they have a right to be at your medical appointments. You have the absolute right to have a confidential and candid discussion with your physician, outside of the presence of your workers compensation carrier. Therefore, even if there is a representative of the carrier present in the waiting room of your appointment, it is always best to prevent that person from actually attending your appointment with the physician. The carrier representative can speak with the physician at some other time. Make sure your time with your doctor is on your terms!
WHAT TO DO IF A CARRIER REPRESENTATIVE IS AT YOUR DOCTORS APPOINTMENT
- Immediately notify the office administrator that you would like to see the doctor outside of the presence of the carrier representative.
- If you recognize the nurse/carrier representative in the waiting room, notify that person that you will not be allowing them to actually be present during your meeting with the doctor.
- If the nurse/carrier representative says they have a right to be in your appointment, tell them that they can speak with your doctor at some other time but that they will not be in the room with you and your doctor.
- If there is a problem with either the doctor or the nurse, contact your lawyer immediately to resolve the issue before you see the doctor.