(a) Except in an emergency, the division shall require an employee to receive medical treatment from a doctor chosen from a list of doctors approved by the commissioner. A doctor may perform only those procedures that are within the scope of the practice for which the doctor is licensed. The employee is entitled to the employee's initial choice of a doctor from the division's list.
(b) If an employee is dissatisfied with the initial choice of a doctor from the division's list, the employee may notify the division and request authority to select an alternate doctor. The notification must be in writing stating the reasons for the change, except notification may be by telephone when a medical necessity exists for immediate change.
(c) The commissioner shall prescribe criteria to be used by the division in granting the employee authority to select an alternate doctor. The criteria may include:
(1) whether treatment by the current doctor is medically inappropriate;
(2) the professional reputation of the doctor;
(3) whether the employee is receiving appropriate medical care to reach maximum medical improvement; and
(4) whether a conflict exists between the employee and the doctor to the extent that the doctor-patient relationship is jeopardized or impaired.
(d) A change of doctor may not be made to secure a new impairment rating or medical report.
(e) For purposes of this section, the following is not a selection of an alternate doctor:
(1) a referral made by the doctor chosen by the employee if the referral is medically reasonable and necessary;
(2) the receipt of services ancillary to surgery;
(3) the obtaining of a second or subsequent opinion only on the appropriateness of the diagnosis or treatment;
(4) the selection of a doctor because the original doctor:
(B) retires; or
(C) becomes unavailable or unable to provide medical care to the employee; or
(5) a change of doctors required because of a change of residence by the employee.
(f) This section does not apply to requirements regarding the selection of a doctor under a workers' compensation health care network established under Chapter 1305, Insurance Code, except as provided by that chapter.
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