Often the insurance company will hire a rehabilitation nurse to "manage" the medical treatment of an injured worker.
The nurse may go to doctor's visits with the injured worker and either seek to go into the examination or talk to the doctor after the examination. The nurse may also ask the injured worker to call the nurse after doctor's visits.
The injured worker has no obligation to allow the nurse in the exam room. In addition, a doctor should not discuss an injured worker's treatment with the nurse without the worker's permission. Moreover, an injured worker has no obligation to keep the rehabilitation nurse informed of his doctor visits.
The insurance company does not have to pay the doctor's bill unless the doctor provides a medical report with the bill. The insurance company is therefore guaranteed information regarding the diagnosis, treatment provided, and work restrictions of the injured worker. Accordingly, the purpose of the rehabilitation nurse is often to put pressure on the doctor with regard to treatment options, referrals to other providers, and work restrictions/job approvals.
NOTE: If an injured worker is represented by a workers' compensation attorney, all contact with the rehabilitation nurse must be through the attorney and not the injured worker directly.
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By Michael O'Connor