Had MRI done, have prominent central disc herniation that is pressing on spinal nerve. WC adjuster is blaiming on old age and congenital defects. Dr. not prescribing pain meds, making me complete physical therapy. Dr. has not seen MRI/report yet. Physical therapist says I definitely need surgery and doesn't want to further injure me.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
I note you didn't say what kind of doctor you are currently seeing. If s/he's a general practitioner, family doctor, walk-in clinic physician, etc., acting as your PCP (primary care physician), then you should wait until that doc sees the MRI films and push to be referred to an orthopedic spine surgeon. If the doc refuses to look at the MRI, then you might need to use your "one-time change," use your IME (independent medical examination), or set up a "self-help" situation. Importantly, each of those options has to be considered carefully, as each involves long-term strategy decisions for your case, and you can really screw yourself up down the road by making the wrong choices now. As a result, you really should find an experienced W/C attorney in your area and set up a free consultation to discuss your situation. Ask about the options I proposed and how each choice could affect your case going forward.
That said, your specific question was about "neutral" doctors in W/C. Yes, they exist; but, they are few and far between, and there is no way to ensure that you get one authorized for your case. On the rare occasions that you get to pick your own doctor, you can pick someone you believe to be neutral; but, more often than not, you'll feel forced to pick someone that is considered more "patient friendly," in order to offset opinions of the "carrier friendly" doctor(s) that the adjuster already picked for you.
Good luck, and don't delay in getting an attorney to help you out.
Every doctor in the w/c case has to be authorized except for an IME. You can select one on your own and they are paid for by you unless you are in a case with a managed care arrangement. You can also request a one time change, but the new docotr would be through the carrier. Seek legal help before making a long term bad decision.
The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices. Bstein@dcfsz.com, 305 377 1505