Tips for injured workers attending medical examinations required by DWC in Texas.
So you received an order from DWC to attend a medical examination regarding your WC case. Now what? Do you have any rights in this process?
What to do when you receive notification to submit to a medical provider's examination.First, review the notice carefully to discover (1.) who is requesting the exam (usually an adjuster for the IC) (2).a. the reason for the exam, (is it an attempt to have you certified at MMI/IR? (IC may be trying to have your income benefits stopped) (2).b. Is it a request to determine the extent of your injury (IC may be attempting to limit the extent of your injury to limit its exposure to medical and income benefits (2).c. Is the exam to determine your ability to work (IC may believe you are malingering 3. Where will the exam be conducted and note the contact information (if you must reschedule are there instructions on how) Are there instructions to you on how to dress and what to wear. (some examinations, like a FCE, can be demanding so dress comfortably.
What must you bring with you to the exam?Typically prior to the exam your medical providers must provide a copy of your medical records for review by the person you are ordered to see at least 3 days prior to the exam date. If records are not timely received, the exam should be rescheduled. Generally you are not allowed to contact the medical provider directly (DWC claims it is to avoid undue influence by the IW, however ICs may write a letter to the provider detailing the injuries accepted and care rendered (IW's lawyers are prohibited from contacting those providers appointed to perform the exam)
Other issues to be mindful of.Many times ICs may hire investigators to follow you from your home to the appointment (or from appointment home) to determine whether you move or act the same way once you are at the provider's office. Be mindful that many providers may have its staff watch as you arrive and get out of your car so that they can document how you are able to move physically as opposed to once you're in the examination room. Some IWs have been known to have an audio recorder with them during the exam. As long as at least one party (such as the IW) agrees to the secret audio recording it is seldom illegal for IW to record the exam. It is also a good idea to "Google" the doctor to see if there have been complains. Once the exam has been conducted and a scathing report is issued by the provider, your complaints will likely fall on deaf ears.