A: Once you have started a course of treatment with a doctor, he/she is considered your workers’ compensation doctor and you are required to continue seeing them in order to receive your workers’ compensation benefits.

If you would like to change your doctor, it must be approved by your employer or insurance carrier before you make such a change and seek treatment with the new doctor. I rarely have seen them agree to a change. If your employer or insurer does not approve the change, you may petition the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, who may approve the change.

The Commission may approve the change if you can prove that:

  • your condition requires a specialist;
  • you are receiving inadequate treatment;
  • your health is not improving or unconventional treatments used by the original doctor are not working;
  • your doctor is not cooperating with orders given by the Commission; or
  • there is no treatment plan for any long-term disabilities from which you may be suffering.

The third way, which is usually the most successful, is to request your current treating physician to permanently refer you to the physician that you want.