Telemedicine is meant as a way to remove some of the difficulties injured workers may face when trying to access medical care for a workplace injury.
Since 2014, Missouri requires all health plans to cover telemedicine services and says these cannot be charged more than onsite service. However, when it comes to worker’s comp specifically, the rules aren’t so clear.
Telemedicine services allow the worker to access immediate medical attention when they need it, and many insurance companies do agree to cover such costs, realizing their potential. However, could telemedicine actually negatively impact your claim?
Why Telemedicine May Not Work in Your Favor
Telemedicine is a broad term that can mean different things, but the essential component to it is accessing some types of medical attention remotely, though the use of modern technologies. Since it’s a form of remote doctor visitation, it is generally only appropriate for certain types of cases.
Telemedicine services could allow the patient fast access to their doctor for a check-up and update on their condition, but they can’t always replace in-person visits. It’s almost impossible to diagnose someone remotely just based on what the doctor can see through a screen and what the worker describes as symptoms.
As a result, telemedicine could potentially result in a worker receiving a lower quality of care simply because of the limitations of telemedicine. It was never meant to replace the visits to your doctor’s office, but rather be used to provide people with easier access in a complementary fashion, in very specific cases.
To make matters even more complicated, in Missouri you, as the injured worker, cannot choose your own doctor. That right falls to your employer, who usually lets the insurance company decide. It is possible for your employer to allow you to choose your own doctor, but in most cases, this is not what happens.
How to Protect Yourself
When used correctly, telemedicine can actually improve your access to medical care. Unfortunately, telemedicine in the context of worker’s comp is not properly regulated yet, leaving many grey areas to walk around.
To ensure these grey areas don’t end up impacting your claim negatively, it’s a good idea to speak with a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney and discuss your case with them. Having someone with legal experience can ensure your rights are protected during your worker’s comp claim, and in the event that you are not satisfied with your telemedicine services, a lawyer can help you access better care.
St. Louis Work Injury Attorney
Especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, many more workers may access telemedicine services during their worker’s comp claim. To ensure you don’t have any issue with your claim because of it, please get in touch with an experienced St. Louis worker’s comp attorney for a FREE case evaluation and legal advice.
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