When an Ohio worker is injured on the job or contracts an occupational sickness, their exclusive legal remedy is filing a workers’ compensation claim. Of course, the most important thing is that the employee receive medical care as soon as possible, followed by providing notice of the injury to their employer and starting the workers’ compensation application process.

Many people develop a relationship with a particular physician – a good idea for continuity of care and an opportunity for the doctor to develop familiarity with the patient’s medical history and potential problems. So, when a work-related injury occurs or an occupational disease develops, it is normal to wonder – can I go to my own doctor if the workers’ compensation claim will cover the medical bills?

The answer is that you may use your own physician for ongoing treatment as long as your doctor is an Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) certified provider. If your employer asks you to see a certain physician, Ohio law does not require you to do so, but you may see the company doctor if you prefer as long as they are BWC-certified.

The exception is that for emergency treatment or for the first medical appointment for the work-related medical problem an Ohio employee may use a provider that is not BWC-certified. After that, the employee should use a BWC-certified doctor – otherwise, the medical bills cannot be paid through the workers’ compensation program and the worker will be personally responsible for them.

An injured Ohio employee can find a list of BWC-certified medical providers by contacting the BWC by phone, through the employer’s managed care organization (MCO) or using the BWC online provider look-up program, which allows searching by name, location, provider type, specialty or foreign language spoken.

If you have any questions, about your right to be treated by a physician of your choice you should contact an attorney who specialized in Ohio Workers’ Compensation law.