First DCA Rules Injured Florida Worker Must Choose Alternative Doctor Within Same Specialty Field

Jan 23, 2017


In what it labled “a case of first impression,” Florida’s First District Court of Appeal (“First DCA”) ruled today, January 23, 2017, that under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, an injured worker was not entitled to select a physician in a different specialty from that of the originally authorized physician during the course of treatment for any one accident.

The final order at issue before the First DCA granted the claim of an employee to change his authorized family practice physician to an orthopedist because his employer/carrier didn’t respond in a timely manner to his request for a one-time change under subsection 440.13(2)(f), Florida Statutes.

Section 440.13(2)(f) says

(f) Upon the written request of the employee, the carrier shall give the employee the opportunity for one change of physician during the course of treatment for any one accident.  Upon the granting of a change of physician, the originally authorized physician in the same specialty as the changed physician shall become deauthorized upon written notification by the employer or carrier.  The carrier shall authorize an alternative physician who shall not be professionally affiliated with the previous physician within 5 days after receipt of the request.  If the carrier fails to provide a change of physician as requested by the employee, the employee may select the physician and such physician shall be considered authorized if the treatment being provided is compensable and medically necessary.

The Judge of Compensation Claims in the underlying case interpreted the statute to entitle the injured employee to select any physician of his choice in any specialty–an interpretation the First DCA reviewed de novo.

To read today’s First DCA ruling, click here.


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.



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