Employers in Georgia are required to have a properly posted panel of physicians displayed for employees. Without this panel, an employee is allowed to treat at a physician of his choosing for a work-related injury and he may still be compensated for all costs. Just having a posted physicians panel does not necessarily mean that the employer can control the employee’s options for medical care. Instead, under the Georgia Worker’s Compensation Act, the panel must follow very specific requirements to be valid.
While there are three types of panels an employer may display, this blog will focus on the most common type. This panel is a list of at least 6 physicians or clinics. The panel must include at least one orthopedic surgeon, a minority physician, and no more than two industrial clinics. Additionally, it must include correct phone numbers and addresses for the physicians listed. Finally, the panel should be displayed in a prominent location where it is easily accessible to employees.
Beyond simply displaying a panel of physicians, the employer must also make every effort to inform employees about the panel. The employer must explain the purpose of the panel to employees. Without proper instruction on the use of a panel, the panel may still be found invalid.