23:1121   Examination of injured employee


A. An injured employee shall submit himself to an examination by a duly qualified medical practitioner provided and paid for by the employer, as soon after the accident as demanded, and from time to time thereafter as often as may be reasonably necessary and at reasonable hours and places, during the pendency of his claim for compensation or during the receipt by him of payments under this Chapter.  The employer or his workers' compensation carrier shall not require the employee to be examined by more than one duly qualified medical practitioner in any one field or specialty unless prior consent has been obtained from the employee.


B. (1) The employee shall have the right to select one treating physician in any field or specialty.  The employee shall have a right to an expedited summary proceeding pursuant to R.S. 23:1201.1(K)(8), when denied his right to an initial physician of choice.  The workers' compensation judge shall set the hearing date for the matter within three days of receiving the employee's motion for the expedited hearing.  The hearing shall be held not less than ten nor more than thirty days after the employee or his attorney files the motion for an expedited hearing.  The workers' compensation judge shall provide notice of the hearing date to the employer and insurer at the same time and in the same manner that notice of the hearing date is provided to the employee or his attorney.  For the purposes of this Section, an employee shall not be required to submit the dispute on the choice of physician to mediation nor go through a pretrial conference before obtaining a hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted as a rule to show cause.  The workers' compensation judge shall order the employer or payor to authorize the claimant's choice of physician unless the employer or payor can show good cause for his refusal.  After his initial choice the employee shall obtain prior consent from the employer or his workers' compensation carrier for a change of treating physician within that same field or specialty.  The employee, however, is not required to obtain approval for change to a treating physician in another field or specialty.


(2)(a) If the employee is treated by any physician to whom he is not specifically directed by the employer or insurer, that physician shall be regarded as his choice of treating physician.


(b) When the employee is specifically directed to a physician by the employer or insurer, that physician may also be deemed as the employee's choice of physician, if the employee has received written notice of his right to select one treating physician in any field or specialty, and then chooses to select the employer's referral as his treating specialist after the initial medical examination as signified by his signature on a choice of physician form.  The notice required by this Subparagraph shall be on a choice of physician form promulgated by the director of the office of workers' compensation and shall contain the notice of the employee's rights provided under R.S. 23:1121(B)(1).  Such form shall be provided to the employee either in person or by certified mail.


(3) Paragraph (2) of this Subsection shall not apply to other physicians to whom the employee is referred by the physician selected by the employer unless the employer or insurer has obtained the choice of physician form provided for under Subparagraph (2)(b) separately for any such physician after the initial medical examination with that physician.


(4) In instances where the employee is illiterate or has a language barrier, an authorized representative of the employer or insurer shall attest by his signature on the form that he has reasonably read and explained the form to such employee prior to their signatures.


(5) If the employee fails or refuses to sign the form as provided in Subparagraph (2)(b) and Paragraph (3) of this Subsection, the employer or payor may suspend medical benefits until such time as the employee complies with Subparagraph (2)(b) and Paragraph (3) of this Subsection.  Suspension of medical benefits by the employer or payor shall be made in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 23:1201.1(A)(4) and (5).  When the employee has filed a disputed claim, the employer or payor may move for an order to compel the employee to return the form.


C. Repealed by Acts 2003, No. 1204, § 2.


D. After all examinations have been conducted but prior to any order directing the injured employee to return to work, the employee shall be permitted, at his own expense, to consult with and be examined by a physician of his own choosing.  Such report shall be considered in addition to all other medical reports in determining the injured employee's fitness to return to work.  Should disagreement exist, after such consultation and examination, as to the fitness of the employee to return to work, the provisions of R.S. 23:1123 shall be followed.


E. Nothing in this Section shall be construed so as to provide that a physician who, regarding the work-related injury, administered emergency treatment only shall be the physician of choice of either the employee or the employer.


Amended by Acts 1986, No. 726, § 1;  Acts 1987, No. 492, § 1;  Acts 1988, No. 617, § 1;  Acts 1997, No. 393, § 1;  Acts 1997, No. 452, § 1, eff. June 22, 1997;  Acts 1999, No. 324, § 1, eff. June 16, 1999;  Acts 2003, No. 886, § 1;  Acts 2013, No. 337, § 1.