Nevada workers’ compensation doctors are typically picked from the workers’ compensation insurer’s provider list. What does that even mean? Workers’ compensation insurance companies have a list of doctors who are in their network and are willing to see injured workers. Recent changes in the law effective in January 2020 will require these insurance companies to expand their lists to have a reasonable number of doctors for each specialty.
In my opinion injured workers have way too little control over which doctors they can see. In Nevada, the law allows for an injured worker to request a transfer of care within the first 90 days of the claim. This is not the first 90 days the claim was accepted but within 90 days of the injury. If the injured worker does not select a doctor, then the insurance company will select one for them. If more than 90 days has passed then it is difficult to transfer care to another doctor.
How do I go about requesting a transfer of care?
You will need to get a copy of the workers’ compensation insurer’s provider list, determine the type of doctor you need to see, and send a written request to the insurer to see that doctor. Each insurance company has their own list, so you want to make sure you are looking at the insurance company’s list that is handling your workers’ compensation claim, and make sure it is their most up-to-date list.
After you have sent in your request for a transfer of care, the insurance company will have 10 days to approve or deny the request. You will want to appeal any denial! If the request was made within the first 90 days of the injury it is your right to request a doctor of your choosing.
Are there other ways to pick my doctor?
There are other methods to get an injured worker seen by a doctor, however, they often can require litigation and/or discussions with the insurance company. Requests for second opinions are at the discretion of the insurance company’s adjuster. Second opinion doctor’s must also be selected off the workers’ compensation insurance company’s provider list and the request must be made in writing.
Independent medical evaluations are another way to be seen by another doctor and occasionally (once a year per NRS 616C.145) you can get one as a matter of right and see a doctor on the Division of Industrial Relation’s provider list. The Division of Industrial Relation’s has a much larger lists and often has doctors that aren’t on insurance company’s provider lists. See my blog on NRS 616C.145 for more information on independent medical evaluations that you can receive this way.
Remember that second opinion doctors and doctors you see for an independent medical evaluation are not your treating physician. These are typically one-time visits.