HOUSE REPUBLICAN STAFF ANALYSIS
Bill: House File 530
Committee: Labor Committee
Date: March 6, 2009
Staff: Lon Anderson (1-5184)
Employee Choice of Doctor – Doctor Shopping
House File 530 provides that an employee may select their own doctor by having that doctor on file with the
employer. The doctor need not be a specialist or occupational physician, and any referral to such a specialist
must be paid for by the employer. Currently employers can send injured workers directly to the appropriate
specialist thus avoiding the cost of the referring doctor.
Section by Section Analysis
Section 1 – Employee Choice of Doctor The section amends Chapter 85.27 to specify that an employer can
choose employer care unless the employee has a pre-designated physician on record.
The section strikes current language providing a process for an employee to appeal for their own doctor. In
order to qualify for the right to choose an employee must have a pre-designated physician who is a primary
care provider, who has previously provided medical care to the employee and has retained the employee’s
medical records. An employee has the right to choose care unless there is a life-threatening job site
emergency and an employer must notify employees of their right to choose care.
The section states that an employer shall not coerce or influence an injured employee’s choice or doctor and
an employer must provide notice again if the employee is injured. Failure to provide notice authorizes the
employee to choose any doctor they want and virtually any kind of medical doctor is authorized as a
physician. The doctor may practice in another state provided their location is within 60 miles of the worker’s
job site or place of injury (however the workers’ compensation Commissioner may “allow otherwise”).
The employee’s doctor may then make any referrals, and seek any specialist necessary, at the employer’s
expense and if an employer doesn’t like the employees choice they must first try to negotiate with the
employee for alternate care, if that doesn’t produce results then they may appeal to the Commissioner allow
an order for alternate care if proof is provided by the employer. Finally, an application by an employee for a
designated doctor shall be considered an original proceeding for purpose of contested cases.
Section 2 – Examination of Injured Employee The section amends Chapter 85.39 to specify that if the
employee’s doctor of choice determines that the employee is not going to recover from their injury, the
employee may seek a determination of disability at the employer’s expense. If the employer disagrees with
the finding the employer may seek another opinion with a doctor of the employer’s choice, at the employer’s
expense. The employer must pay the employee for their time at such an examination and the employee must
submit to the employer doctor’s examination or lose their benefits.
Section 3 – Effective Dates The bill takes effect on January 1, 2010 and applies to injuries that occur on or
after that date.