Fewer Area Doctors Accepting Workers Comp

Finding a doctor to treat an injury you suffered on the job is becoming more difficult.

All the plants and factories we have in our area contribute to the sheer number of occupational injuries, up to 400 a month.  For those who are injured though, the dismal number of doctors willing to take their cases leaves them with few options.

Workplace injuries can be a wide range of ailments.  Dr. Richard Siemens, Medical Director of Concentra Medical Services, says he sees "low back pain, lots of ankle sprains and lifting injuries, also trauma, suturing type of laceration injuries."

The vast amount of paperwork makes doctors reluctant to take workers comp cases.  Joe Perry, PA-C at Direct Orthopedic Clinic, says "because of the legal aspects of the job, and being injured on the job, and another insurance company is paying, not your private insurance, they need a lot more documentation."

Add to that the fact that a worker's comp office visit costs the doctor more than a Medicare office visit.

Also, the abuse of the system by those who are just looking to get time off from work plays into why doctors do not want to take on those cases.  Perry says, "I'm very apprehensive about it. The initial contact is almost like a lie detector, you have to find out which ones are the ones that are malingering."

That means those who really are injured may have to wait longer to get treated here or go outside the city to find another doctor.

Perry says only two or three out of 15 orthopedic doctors see worker's comp patients.