Employer Right to Control Workers Comp Medical Care Challenged By Court of Appeals

Under current workers’ compensation laws, employers in California have the right to choose the medical facility where an injured employee is treated by properly implementing a designated Medical Provider Network (MPN). This network ensures that an injured employee will receive necessary medical care pursuant to their workers’ compensation claim at a screened facility that is chosen and screened by the employer, or their insurance carrier. California law does provide for an employee to treat outside the employers MPN, but only where the employee has provided a valid predesignation of a personal physician before the injury or illness occurs. As such, the MPN, which is offered by many insurance companies, can be an important tool to assist employers in controlling workers comp costs and expenses.

Recently, the Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) held that medical reports from doctors who are not part of the MPN are inadmissible in a workers compensation case, if the MPN had been properly implemented, and the employee had not predesignated an outside physician. [Elayne Valdez v. Warehouse Demo Services, April 20, 2011] http://bit.ly/Peo351

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