Colorado Revised Statutes Title 8 Labor and Industry § 8-43-404 Examination--refusal--personal responsibility--physicians to testify and furnish results--injured worker right to select treating physicians--injured worker right to third-party communications--definitions--rules




(1)(a) If in case of injury the right to compensation under articles 40 to 47 of this title exists in favor of an employee, upon the written request of the employee's employer or the insurer carrying such risk, the employee shall from time to time submit to examination by a physician or surgeon or to a vocational evaluation, which shall be provided and paid for by the employer or insurer, and the employee shall likewise submit to examination from time to time by any regular physician selected and paid for by the division.

(b)(I) At least three business days in advance of an examination under paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), if requested by the claimant, the employer or insurer shall pay to the claimant the claimant's estimated expenses of attending the examination, including transportation, mileage, food, and hotel costs.  In addition, if the claimant verifies that he or she will incur uncompensated wage losses as a result of attending the examination, the employer or insurer shall reimburse the claimant at the rate of seventy-five dollars per day.  Failure to provide payment in accordance with this subparagraph (I) constitutes grounds for the claimant to refuse to attend the examination.

(II) If an employer pays estimated expenses under this paragraph (b) and the claimant does not attend the examination, the employer or insurer may recover the costs paid for the employee's expenses from future indemnity benefits.

(2)(a) The employee shall be entitled to have a physician, provided and paid for by the employee, present at any such examination.  If an employee is examined by a chiropractor at the request of the employer, the employee shall be entitled to have a chiropractor provided and paid for by the employee present at any such examination.  After any examination conducted under this section, the examiner shall prepare a written report giving a description of the examination performed, the written documents or any other materials reviewed, and all findings or conclusions of the examiner.  The employee shall be entitled to receive from the examining physician or chiropractor a copy of any report that the physician or chiropractor makes to the employer, insurer, or division upon the examination, and the copy shall be furnished to the employee at the same time it is furnished to the employer, insurer, or division.  The employee shall also be entitled to receive reports from any physician selected by the employer to treat the employee upon the same terms and conditions and at the same time the reports are furnished by the physician to the employer.  All such examinations shall be recorded in audio in their entirety and retained by the examining physician until requested by any party.  Prior to commencing the audio recording, the examining physician shall disclose to the employee the fact that the exam is being recorded.  If requested, an exact copy of the recording shall be provided to the parties.  Nothing in this subsection (2) shall be construed to prevent any party to the claim from making an audio recording of the examination.  The division shall promulgate rules regarding such recordings that shall include provisions for the protection of the audio recordings and the privacy of information contained in such recordings.  The employer shall be entitled to receive reports from any physician or chiropractor selected by the employee to treat or examine the employee in connection with such injury upon the same terms and at the same time the reports are furnished by the physician or chiropractor to the employee.

(b) The amendments made to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) by Senate Bill 09-168, enacted in 2009, are declared to be procedural and were intended to and shall apply to all workers' compensation claims, regardless of the date the claim was filed.

(3) So long as the employee, after written request by the employer or insurer, refuses to submit to medical examination or vocational evaluation or in any way obstructs the same, all right to collect, or to begin or maintain any proceeding for the collection of, compensation shall be suspended.  If the employee refuses to submit to such examination after direction by the director or any agent, referee, or administrative law judge of the division appointed pursuant to section 8-43-208(1) or in any way obstructs the same, all right to weekly indemnity which accrues and becomes payable during the period of such refusal or obstruction shall be barred.  If any employee persists in any unsanitary or injurious practice which tends to imperil or retard recovery or refuses to submit to such medical or surgical treatment or vocational evaluation as is reasonably essential to promote recovery, the director shall have the discretion to reduce or suspend the compensation of any such injured employee.

(4) Any physician or chiropractor who makes or is present at any such examination may be required to testify as to the results thereof.  Any physician or chiropractor having attended an employee in a professional capacity may be required to testify before the division when it so directs.  A physician or chiropractor will not be required to disclose confidential communications imparted to said physician or chiropractor for the purpose of treatment and which are unnecessary to a proper understanding of the case.

(5)(a)(I)(A) In all cases of injury, the employer or insurer shall provide a list of at least four physicians or four corporate medical providers or at least two physicians and two corporate medical providers or a combination thereof where available, in the first instance, from which list an injured employee may select the physician who attends the injured employee.  At least one of the four designated physicians or corporate medical providers offered must be at a distinct location from the other three designated physicians or corporate medical providers without common ownership.  If there are not at least two physicians or corporate medical providers at distinct locations without common ownership within thirty miles of the employer's place of business, then an employer may designate physicians or corporate medical providers at the same location or with shared ownership interests.  Upon request by an interested party to the workers' compensation claim, a designated provider on the employer's list shall provide a list of ownership interests and employment relationships, if any, to the requesting party within five days of the receipt of the request.  If the services of a physician are not tendered at the time of injury, the employee shall have the right to select a physician or chiropractor.  For purposes of this section, “corporate medical provider” means a medical organization in business as a sole proprietorship, professional corporation, or partnership.

(B) If there are fewer than four physicians or corporate medical providers within thirty miles of the employer's place of business who are willing to treat an injured employee, the employer or insurer may instead designate one physician or one corporate medical provider, and subparagraphs (III) and (IV) of this paragraph (a) shall not apply.  A physician is presumed willing to treat injured workers unless he or she indicates to the employer or insurer to the contrary.

(C) If there are more than three physicians or corporate medical providers, but fewer than nine physicians or corporate medical providers within thirty miles of the employer's place of business who are willing to treat an injured employee, the employer or insurer may instead designate two physicians or two corporate medical providers or any combination thereof.  The two designated providers shall be at two distinct locations without common ownership.  If there are not two providers at two distinct locations without common ownership within thirty miles of the employer's place of business, then an employer may designate two providers at the same location or with shared ownership interests.  Upon request by an interested party to the workers' compensation claim, a designated provider on the employer's list shall provide a list of ownership interests and employment relationships, if any, to the requesting party within five days of the receipt of the request.

(D) Except as otherwise provided by sub-subparagraph (E) of this subparagraph (I), any party may request an expedited hearing on the issue of whether the employer or insurer provided a list in compliance with this subsection (5) if the application for expedited hearing is filed within forty-five days after the claimant provides notice of the injury to the employer.

(E) If the insurer or self-insured employer admits liability for the claim, any party may request an expedited hearing on the issue of whether the employer or insurer provided a list in compliance with this subsection (5) if the application for expedited hearing is filed within forty-five days after the initial admission of liability for the claim.  The director shall set any expedited matter for hearing within sixty days after the date of the application.  The time schedule for an expedited hearing is subject to the extensions set forth in section 8-43-209 .  If the party elects not to request an expedited hearing under this subsection (5), the time schedule for hearing the matter is as set forth in section 8-43-209 .

(II)(A) If the employer is a health care provider or a governmental entity that currently has its own occupational health care provider system, the employer may designate health care providers from within its own system and is not required to provide an alternative physician or corporate medical provider from outside its own system.

(B) If the employer has its own on-site health care facility, the employer may designate such on-site health care facility as the authorized treating physician, but the employer shall comply with subparagraph (III) of this paragraph (a).  For purposes of this sub-subparagraph (B), “on-site health care facility” means an entity that meets all applicable state requirements to provide health care services on the employer's premises.

(III) An employee may obtain a one-time change in the designated authorized treating physician under this section by providing notice that meets the following requirements:

(A) The notice is provided within ninety days after the date of the injury, but before the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement;

(B) The notice is in writing and submitted on a form designated by the director.  The notice provided in this subparagraph (III) shall also simultaneously serve as a request and authorization to the initially authorized treating physician to release all relevant medical records to the newly authorized treating physician.

(C) The notice is directed to the insurance carrier or to the employer's authorized representative, if self-insured, and to the initially authorized treating physician and is deposited in the United States mail or hand-delivered to the employer, who shall notify the insurance carrier, if necessary, and the initially authorized treating physician;

(D) The new physician is on the employer's designated list or provides medical services for a designated corporate medical provider on the list;

(E) The transfer of medical care does not pose a threat to the health or safety of the injured employee;

(F) An insurance carrier, or an employer's authorized representative if the employer is self-insured, shall track how often injured employees change their authorized treating physician pursuant to this subparagraph (III) and shall report such information to the division upon request.

(IV)(A) When an injured employee changes his or her designated authorized treating physician, the newly authorized treating physician shall make a reasonable effort to avoid any unnecessary duplication of medical services.

(B) The originally authorized treating physician shall send all medical records in his or her possession pertaining to the injured employee to the newly authorized treating physician within seven calendar days after receiving a request for medical records from the newly authorized treating physician.

(C) The originally authorized treating physician shall continue as the authorized treating physician for the injured employee until the injured employee's initial visit with the newly authorized treating physician, at which time the treatment relationship with the initially authorized treating physician shall terminate.

(D) The opinion of the originally authorized treating physician regarding work restrictions and return to work shall control unless and until such opinion is expressly modified by the newly authorized treating physician.

(E) The newly authorized treating physician shall be presumed to have consented to treat the injured employee unless the newly authorized treating physician expressly refuses in writing within five days after the date of the notice to change authorized treating physicians.  If the newly authorized treating physician refuses to treat the injured employee, the employee may return to the employer to request an alternative authorized treating physician.  If the employer does not provide an alternative authorized treating physician within five days after the employee's request, rules established by the division shall control.

(V) If the authorized treating physician moves from one facility to another, or from one corporate medical provider to another, an injured employee may continue care with the authorized treating physician, and the original facility or corporate medical provider shall provide the injured employee's medical records to the authorized treating physician within seven days after receipt of a request for medical records from the authorized treating physician.

(VI)(A) In addition to the one-time change of physician allowed in subparagraph (III) of this paragraph (a), upon written request to the insurance carrier or to the employer's authorized representative if self-insured, an injured employee may procure written permission to have a personal physician or chiropractor treat the employee.  The written request must be completed on a form that is prescribed by the director.  If permission is neither granted nor refused within twenty days after the date of the certificate of service of the request form, the employer or insurance carrier shall be deemed to have waived any objection to the employee's request.  Objection shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the director and shall be served on the employee or, if represented, the employee's authorized representative within twenty days after the date of the certificate of service of the request form.  An insurance carrier, or an employer's authorized representative if self-insured, shall track how often an injured employee requests to change his or her physician and how often such change is granted or denied and shall report such information to the division upon request.  Upon the proper showing to the division, the employee may procure the division's permission at any time to have a physician of the employee's selection treat the employee, and in any nonsurgical case the employee, with such permission, in lieu of medical aid, may procure any nonmedical treatment recognized by the laws of this state as legal.  The practitioner administering the treatment shall receive fees under the medical provisions of articles 40 to 47 of this title as specified by the division.

(B) If an injured employee is permitted to change physicians under sub-subparagraph (A) of this subparagraph (VI) resulting in a new authorized treating physician who will provide primary care for the injury, then the previously authorized treating physician providing primary care shall continue as the authorized treating physician providing primary care for the injured employee until the injured employee's initial visit with the newly authorized treating physician, at which time the treatment relationship with the previously authorized treating physician providing primary care is terminated.

(C) Nothing in this subparagraph (VI) precludes any former authorized treating physician from performing an examination under subsection (1) of this section.

(D) If an injured employee is permitted to change physicians pursuant to sub-subparagraph (A) of this subparagraph (VI) resulting in a new authorized treating physician who will provide primary care for the injury, then the opinion of the previously authorized treating physician providing primary care regarding work restrictions and return to work controls unless that opinion is expressly modified by the newly authorized treating physician.

(b) Any private insurer or self-insured employer acting as its own insurance carrier as provided in section 8-44-201 providing workers' compensation coverage shall pay for chiropractic care as provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection (5).

(c) A treating physician shall not communicate with the employer or insurer of an injured worker regarding that injured worker unless:

(I) The injured worker is present for the communication;  or

(II) The treating physician makes an accurate written record of the communication, containing all relevant and material information that was communicated, and provides the injured worker access to the writing in the same manner as medical records disclosures as required by director rules.

(6) Application or prosecution of a claim for benefits shall be a waiver of any privilege concerning communications relating to all medical issues raised by the claim, for the purposes of a utilization review conducted pursuant to section 8-43-501 .

(7) An employer or insurer shall not be liable for treatment provided pursuant to article 41 of title 12, C.R.S., unless such treatment has been prescribed by an authorized treating physician.

(8) Upon request by an employee who has not reached maximum medical improvement and whose authorized treating physician is not level II accredited, an insurer or self-insured employer shall select a level II accredited physician as the authorized treating physician.

(9)(a) Health care services provided shall be deemed authorized if the claim is found to be compensable when:

(I) Compensability of a claim is initially denied;

(II) The services of the physician selected by the employer are not tendered at the time of the injury;  and

(III) The injured worker is treated:

(A) At a public health facility in the state;

(B) At a public health facility within one hundred fifty miles of the residence of the injured worker;  or

(C) Through a publicly funded program.

(b) A claimant shall not be liable for payment for treatment by the provider under this subsection (9) if the treatment is reasonably needed and related to the injury.

(10)(a) If an authorized physician refuses to provide medical treatment to an injured employee or discharges an injured employee from medical care for nonmedical reasons when the injured employee requires medical treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the work injury, then the physician shall, within three business days from the refusal or discharge, provide written notice of the refusal or discharge by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the injured employee and the insurer or self-insured employer.  The notice must explain the reasons for the refusal or discharge and must offer to transfer the injured employee's medical records to any new authorized physician upon receipt of a signed authorization to do so from the injured employee.  The director or any administrative law judge of the office of administrative courts has jurisdiction to resolve disputes regarding whether a refusal to provide medical treatment or a discharge from medical care was for medical or nonmedical reasons.

(b) If the insurer or self-insured employer receives written notice pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (10), or if the insurer or self-insured employer and the authorized treating physician receive written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, from the injured employee or the injured employee's legal representative that an authorized physician refused to provide medical treatment to the injured employee or discharged the injured employee from medical care for nonmedical reasons when such injured employee requires medical treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the work injury, and there is no other authorized physician willing to provide medical treatment, then the insurer or self-insured employer shall, within fifteen calendar days from receiving the written notice, designate a new authorized physician willing to provide medical treatment.  If the insurer or self-insured employer fails to designate a new physician pursuant to this paragraph (b), then the injured employee may select the physician who attends to the injured employee.





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