When do you provide a Panel of Physicians in Tennessee to an injured worker? Answer: ALWAYS!

When do you provide a Panel of Physicians in Tennessee?

Sources:

1. TCA § 50-6-204 (a)(3)(A) The injured employee shall accept the medical benefits afforded under this section; provided that in any case when the employee has suffered an injury and expressed a need for medical care, the employer shall designate a group of three (3) or more independent reputable physicians, surgeons, chiropractors or specialty practice groups if available in the injured employee’s community or, if not so available, in accordance with subdivision (a)(3)(B), from which the injured employee shall select one (1) to be the treating physician.

2. TCA § 50-6-204 (a)(3)(A)(i) When necessary, the treating physician selected in accordance with this subdivision (a)(3)(A) shall make referrals to a specialist physician, surgeon, or chiropractor and immediately notify the employer. The employer shall be deemed to have accepted the referral, unless the employer, within three (3) business days, provides the employee a panel of three (3) or more independent reputable physicians, surgeons, chiropractors or specialty practice groups. In this case, the employee may choose a specialist physician, surgeon, chiropractor or specialty practice group to provide treatment only from the panel provided by the employer.

Comments:

1. An employer is required to provide a panel when an employee “has suffered an injury and expressed a need for medical care “ This can be immediately after the injury or several days later. The key is when the employee has expressed a need for medical care.

2. When the selected Authorized Treating Physician (ATP) makes a referral. The employer/insurer must provide a panel within three (3) business days IF the employer/insurer is not in agreement with the referral. If no panel is provided the employer automatically accepts the referral. CWCE recommends working with the panel physicians to make sure referrals are to agreeable specialist physicians, surgeons, and chiropractors.

3. If the authorized treating physician makes a referral to a specific doctor and a panel is provided. The employee’s choice is then limited to the three “independent reputable physicians, surgeons, chiropractors or specialty practice groups.” CWCE would recommend that specific doctors be listed on the panel in that listing a group or hospital could dilute the control of the medical.

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