A primary treating physician (PTP) is a very important part of the workers compensation process. A PTP is likely your first experience with the work comp system. A good one will help you get treatment, move your claim forward, and provide guidance. On the flip side, a poor one will let your claim lag and not move your medical treatment forward.
You have the right to choose your PTP, if you pre-designate with your employer before your injury. If you didn't pre-designate, you will likely be assigned a PTP from the employer. Should you wish to change your PTP later, this is also an option. See changing your primary doctor for more details.
Your PTP is required to fill out a "Doctor's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness" (Form DLSR 502) within five (5) working days of your initial exam. Then on follow-up visits they need to fill out a "Primary Treating Physician's Progress Report" (Form PR-2) at least every 45 days. (If they do not, this could affect your temporary disability benefits.) In these reports the PTP should be including all areas or body parts which are bothering you; it doesn't matter whether an approved body part or system. (Even denied body parts should be discussed with the PTP.)
Most important, a PTP should be directing your treatment. Requesting diagnostic studies, imaging reports, therapy, consultations and the like. In order for your treatment to be properly requested it must be on a Request For Authorization (RFA). Without this RFA, no treatment will be provided.
Ideally, your treatment will continue until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
However, many times this process doesn't go as smoothly as we would like in California Workers Compensation. Changes of doctors, denials, and MPNs, are just some of the messes. If you have questions about your treatment, or your comp claim, please contact one of our offices for a FREE Consultation to discuss how we can help you in your work comp claim.