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Mike Hager and James Crawford Favor Eliminating Protection for Injured Workers in HB 709 and SB 544

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Published on Apr 20, 2011

In NC two bills have recently been introduced in the Legislature that will change workers' compensation laws and eliminate protections for injured workers. Under H.B. 709 and S.B. 544: Injured workers cannot choose their own doctor. The Insurance Company can talk to injured workers' doctors without their knowledge or consent. If they do not "cooperate" with the doctor the insurance company has chosen, benefits will stop. This portion of the bill "cooks" the system and makes it unfair. Further, a worker loses the entire physician/patient privilege, the right to have confidence in their medical provider, and all sense of any fairness or privacy.
Further, there are unintended consequences with an impact on doctors. Doctors already do not like the workers' compensation system due to the extra time they have to spend answering questions to insurance companies about legal issues. The questions will be non-stop if insurance companies and defense attorneys can contact the doctors directly without the approval of the employee and this will drive doctors out of the system. Plus, another point that no one seems to be making- is that insurance companies and employers ALREADY direct medical care in NC. Employees can only transfer care at the order of the Industrial Commission. This tips the balance way too far so that employees can NEVER select a doctor of their own choosing. This is unfair especially when other states allow the employee to select the dr. from the very beginning. If you are a NC resident please make your voice heard. Call your state representative and ask them to say NO to HB 709 and SB 544.

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