Why Do You Need To Get A Work Note From A Doctor After A Serious Work Injury?

Short Answer: It’s Your Ticket To Benefits

We hear all the time from injured workers in DC who don’t understand the differences between simply getting medical treatment for an injury and getting medical treatment for a workers’ comp injury. If you were injured at work and are receiving benefits, you need to be getting monthly work notes as your “ticket” to continued money benefits and medical treatment.

So How Does Medical Treament Work After A Serious Work Injury In Washington DC?

First of all, treatment on workers comp requires authorizations - a lot more authorization than would be required under normal health insurance. The workers comp company just wants to throw up roadblocks and slow down progress in hopes that the injured workers will just get frustrated and stop treatment. Or use their personal insurance instead of workers comp insurance. And innjured workers will et it from both sides. Because workers comp insurance is such a pain, many doctors' offices simply won’t proceed with medical treatment until they have “authorization” (promise to pay) from the insurance company. So, when the insurance adjuster is requiring authorization on their end, and the doctor’s office won’t move forward without a promise to pay, it makes it really difficult for injured workers in DC to get the treatment they need after a work accident.

This is the kind of BS we deal with all the time with workers comp insurance, and we know how to push back against adjusters and nurse case managers so our clients can get the medical treatment they need when they need it.

Medical Treatment After A Serious Work Injury May Also Require Extra Time & Paperwork At The Doctor’s Office 

When scheduling medical treatment, you need to be prepared for extra administrative measures, evaluations, and paperwork that you might not have to deal with when using regular health insurance. You should give yourself extra time before a first appointment with a new provider for these types of tasks. And call ahead of time to make sure that the office has recieved the authorizations from the workers' comp adjuster to make sure you don't drive to their appointment just to be sent back home.

You Need To Get A Work Note, Or Disability Note, Each And Every Time You See Your Treating Physician 

A disability note, or work note, is the ticket to getting benefits in DC workers comp. When you see your treating physician (not a physical therapist or occupational therapist) you will need to get a disability note whenever you go. This disability note says whether or not you can return to work (or return to work with restrictions). If you are out of work, you won’t get benefits without sending this note to an adjuster after every doctor’s appointment. And you had better believe if you are late with the work note or worse, don’t get it at all, the insurance adjuster will stop your benefits. 

Don’t Leave The Office Without The Note In Your Hand

It becomes much harder to get a hold of the work note once you leave the office. Front desk people get busy, records clerks have a hundred files in front of them. You need to just get it when you are there. And don't forget to look at your slip before you leave the office, and make sure it says what the doctor said to them. Doctor's offices sometimes make clerical errors, so you always want to make sure that the paperwork matches what you discussed with your doctor.

Referrals, Prescriptions And Progress Notes

When you get referrals they have to match the type of treatment exactly. For example, if the referral says "physical therapy" and you want to get "aqua therapy," you will have to get an order specifically for aqua therapy. You should also check your prescriptions for dosing consistency. You want to make sure you have enough to last until your next visit.

You need to make sure you have all of your office visit notes from your treating physician, and reports from any surgeries and special treatment. We recommend that you keep a copy of all of your own records, but for our clients we order and keep track of all of the records associated with their treatment and we seek authorizations on their behalf.

These records, especially from your treating physician, are the trail of paperwork that we use to show continuity of care and continuation of treatment, so you will also want to make sure that your visit notes reflect everything that you talked about with your doctor. Sometimes doctors offices inadvertently leave in visit notes things that don't correspond with the doctor's orders, such as "claimant can go back to work," when the doctor actually put you out of work for another month. These mistakes are not fatal, you just need to call the doctor and ask them to correct the visit notes. Sometimes your adjuster will want to see your visit reports, so you want to make sure they are accurate.

Get Started With The Right Legal Representation For A Serious Work Injury In DC

If you have a new workers' comp claim and are just getting started, you will absolutely need to order our free book "Protect Your Rights - the Ultimate Guide to DC Workers' Compensation." This book, written by premier workers' comp attorney Frank R. Kearney, gives you insight into what you need to know about DC workers' comp. And if you have further questions don't hesitate to give us a call at 202-393-3320. You will speak with a real person today who can get you started.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer