Many employers and employees alike harbor misconceptions when it comes to chiropractic care and medical treatment for workers’ compensation. If you’re an employee who has recently suffered an injury in the workplace, you may wonder what your options are in terms of chiropractic care. Here is what you should know.
Chiropractic for Workers’ Compensation Injuries Infographic
What Is Workers’ Comp Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care is a type of alternative medicine that is mostly focused on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. Chiropractors are different from doctors because they do not perform surgical interventions. Also, in most jurisdictions, chiropractors are not permitted to prescribe patients medication, while doctors are permitted to write prescriptions.
Chiropractic care is considered a healing art like massage and acupuncture; it provides a nonsurgical way to receive effective treatment for your injuries and recover without relying on medications. The main medical service offered by workers’ comp chiropractors is spinal manipulation. However, there are other medical services that fall under the category of workers’ comp chiropractic care as well.
Can I See a Chiropractor While Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
In short: Yes, you are entitled to chiropractor visits if you are receiving workers’ comp benefits.
If you’re like most people, you will feel a huge sense of relief once you start receiving your workers’ compensation checks. Once you start receiving some income, you should focus on recovery. Be sure that you’re doing everything in your power to recover in terms of your health and well-being.
A common question that many clients have is whether they are permitted to visit a chiropractor while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. These clients often mistakenly believe that the Industrial Commission will frown on them seeing a chiropractor because they are not M.D.s. However, this is not the case.
You can see a chiropractic doctor and receive workers’ compensation at the same time. In fact, if your employer gives you permission to seek medical treatment, you are actually entitled to visits with a chiropractor. You can visit a workers’ comp chiropractor for 24 treatments or 12 weeks from the date of your first visit with a chiropractor provided by the insurance carrier, whichever happens first.
If you still need treatment after visiting a chiropractor 24 times, it is possible that your visits will continue to be covered. Your chiropractor can request authorization from your employer for the extra visits. In some cases, a carrier will authorize more care beyond the first 24 treatments or 12 weeks. The initial limitation on the number of visits with a chiropractor does not apply to workers who suffered catastrophic injuries, such as those resulting in blindness, severe burns, spinal cord paralysis, or amputation of an extremity.
While your employer isn’t required to authorize extra visits, they are legally obligated to allow you to visit a chiropractor at least 24 times. If your employer attempts to terminate your visits to see a chiropractor, you should bring this up with your lawyer so that the issue is addressed as soon as possible.
Expected Number of Visits for Workers’ Comp Chiropractic
Every single injury is different and it is common for medical complications to arise suddenly. However, if you decide to see a workers’ comp chiropractor, you should work with them during your initial visit to come up with a plan for your expected number of visits.
In general, workers’ comp patients will see a chiropractor twice a week. One month of treatment is equivalent to about 8 to 10 visits. Two months of treatment is equivalent to about 15 to 20 visits. Three months of treatment is equivalent to about 22 to 28 visits.
Once you have a treatment plan in place for your workers’ compensation chiropractic care, you can work on getting the visits approved by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Keep in mind that you may be required to undergo an independent medical evaluation during the process of authorizing the treatment plan.
What to Expect from Your Employer
It is important that employers take a proactive approach when it comes to chiropractic care for employees receiving workers’ compensation. Here are some things you can expect your employer to do:
- Confirm the duration of the expected chiropractic care
- Confirm the frequency of the treatment
- Identify the body part(s) that will be treated with chiropractic care
- Make sure that the treatment is not for a medical issue that existed before the work-related injury
- Verify the work restrictions imposed by the chiropractor and advise the chiropractor of the duty work available to employees within the work restrictions
In addition, there are some instances when a case manager, employer, or claims professional may interfere with the chiropractic care that you’re receiving, such as when:
- You do not show signs of major improvement after the first month of chiropractic care
- The frequency of chiropractic visits does not taper off after a few months
- The medical treatment reports are not reflective of consistent progress in terms of injury recovery
- The number of visits increases or the chiropractic care attendance becomes inconsistent
When you’re receiving chiropractic care for a workers’ comp injury (or an auto accident injury) it’s crucial that you keep up with your treatment plan. Not only will that provide you with the best chances for a full recovery, but it will also increase your chances of getting extended chiropractic care covered by your workers’ comp provider, should you need it.
Visit a Workers’ Comp Chiropractor
There are many misconceptions surrounding workers’ comp chiropractic. If you recently suffered an on-the-job injury, it is important that you remain well-informed about your options and get the care you need to make a full recovery. For more information about workers’ compensation and chiropractic care, or to start your recovery process, visit our intake page to schedule an appointment or call your local injury doctor. We have offices conveniently located across Central Florida, from Tampa to Daytona Beach.