If an Employer/Insurer has controverted a workers’ compensation claim and the claim is later found to compensable, Board Rule 201(b) provides that “the employee is authorized to select one of the physicians who has provided treatment for the work-related injury prior to the acceptance of compensability, and after notice has been given to the employer, that physician so selected becomes the authorized treating physician.”

The question, then, is what constitutes notice.  On a very obvious level, if the claimant’s counsel calls the employer’s counsel and says “I want Dr. Smith, the doctor who treated my client while the claim was controverted, to be the ATP,” I imagine that would suffice.

But what would be the effect of Dr. Smith calling the adjuster for the insurer to try to authorize an appointment?  Is that notice?  Should the adjuster be required to infer that Dr. Smith is now the authorized treating physician?

What if counsel for the claimant simply sends bills to the employer from Dr. Smith asking for payment?  Is that notice?  When does the notice take effect?  Should the employer pay for the bills?

The obvious answer is to avoid all of these questions.  The claimant’s counsel should write a letter to the employer’s counsel setting out the claimant’s intention to name Dr. Smith as the ATP.  It takes all of the guesswork out and avoids unnecessary litigation.

If your claim has been controverted and you are attempting to get medical treatment, please contact an attorney with the Ramos Law Firm.  We are here to help Georgia’s injured workers.

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