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Telehealth and Workers Compensation: How Does It Work?


Digital technologies impact all facets of human life, including health care. Nowadays, people are no longer 100% dependent on receiving the medical care available near them, as telemedicine and tele-evaluations become more and more popular.

Some reports estimate that telemedicine visits increased around 52% per year between 2005-2014, and the prevalence is expected to rise even more in the future. But what does that mean for workers’ compensation complain?

telehealth call with workers compensation doctor

Can You Be Consulted Remotely in a Worker’s Compensation Case?

This is a difficult question to answer. Currently, Missouri worker’s comp laws make no mention of telehealth or tele-evaluation services, meaning the state does not mandate that these services should be offered to an injured worker during a worker’s comp case.

However, the state does impose health plans include them since 2014 in certain cases, such as when the use of video conferencing is included as a service. .

When it comes to worker’s compensation cases, this is a matter left for the insurance company to decide. There are a lot of benefits of telehealth that the insurance company can directly take advantage of, in particular lower costs. Some companies have been at the frontline of the trends, while others may still be reticent.

Telehealth can reduce many workers’ comp costs, and may potentially improve the healthcare quality of an injured worker, especially when it comes to injuries or conditions that cannot be locally treated because of a lack of experts. Even second opinions on more sensitive cases can be easily received through a videoconferencing session.

Additionally, tele-evaluations can allow the workers easy access to important mental health services that may otherwise not be available near them. There are many benefits, but it generally depends on which insurance company pays your bills whether you end up accessing these benefits or not.

Can You Opt for Telehealth Services?

In Missouri, the injured worker cannot choose the doctor who’ll be treating them during a worker’s comp claim. This decision is left to the employer, who usually waives it in favor of the insurance company.

If you wish to receive telehealth services, you may speak to your employer or the insurance company and discuss the matter. If they agree, you may begin your sessions. 

It’s important not to start consulting a telehealth doctor on your own without notifying these parties, as these costs will not be reimbursed. In fact, this act may end up hurting your workers’ comp claim, as the insurance company may suspect you are ignoring the advice of your workers’ compensation doctor in favor of the telehealth doctor.

Why Speak With a Workers Compensation Lawyer?

To ensure that you are getting the treatment and compensation you are legally entitled to after a work injury, discuss your claim with an experienced workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible after a work injury.

Updated: May 28, 2020
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