If you have been injured on the job, then your employer will normally send you to a doctor of their choice. Under Arkansas Statute 11-9-514, if the employer selects the initial physician, the injured employee then has the right to petition the commission one time for a “change of physician.” What this means is that if you are an employee who is injured on the job and the employer selects the first physician, you have the right to change doctor’s – once. To file a petition you will need the name and address of the employer selected physician and the name and address of the doctor you would like.
You will then need to contact the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission at 1-800-622-4472 and ask to speak to “Cost Containment.” Or, you can use the ‘Change of Physician’ form on our website. After you file your petition, you will receive a letter from Workers Compensation, confirming your change of physician. Then, the workers compensation carrier has to pay for the first visit to the doctor of your choice. The problem is that they are not legally required to pay for any treatment recommended by your physician. So if your doctor orders an MRI or additional treatment, the workers compensation carrier could refuse payment for the additional treatment and argue that the treatment is not reasonable and necessary, or they could always challenge compensability (whether you even sustained a work-related injury) at which point you should file a claim or an AR-C form with the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission.
So the answer to the question is that in order for workers compensation to pay for related treatment, you do initially have to go to the doctor of the employer’s choice. However, after you see that physician, you can then file for a change of physician. Also remember that treatment from any unauthorized physician could be declined by the workers compensation carrier.