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Seeking medical attention after an injury covered by the LHWCA

If you have been injured on the job and meet the qualifications of a worker covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you may need treatment in order to recover. We at Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha often answer questions about the steps to choosing a health care provider to address your injury.

The U.S. Department of Labor explains that you may choose your own health care provider, but there are factors that may affect whether your employers’ insurance company covers the costs of your treatment. For example, faith healers and naturopaths are not physicians, and their services would not be covered unless you are under the care of a qualifying physician, and he or she prescribes the treatment provided by them. Treatment from a doctor who has been debarred by the Department of Labor is not covered. In certain circumstances, a chiropractor’s services may be covered.

The employer, its insurance company or the DOL’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs must give you permission to select a new doctor if you are not satisfied with your first choice. You will probably also have to receive approval for any referral to a specialist that your provider makes.

If you want to visit a doctor who is not nearby, and there is another option much closer to your home, your choice may be denied, and you may have to pay for the medical care yourself. However, if the doctor you choose is approved, regardless of distance, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement for travel expenses.

More information about the benefits available to injured longshore workers is available on our web page.

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