Discussion: The system of workers’ compensation in Alabama is unique in that the employer and the insurance carrier or third party administrator can determine where the injured worker is seen, by what doctor and what type of doctor. A medical panel of doctors must be available to the injured but it does not, by law, have to include a doctor of chiropractic. Many injuries on the job are related to the spine and musculoskeletal system, which are commonly treated in the chiropractor’s office. This article describes a program that led to doctors of chiropractic having an expanded role in the management of work-related injuries in Alabama, prior to which access to care had been significantly restricted.
Conclusion: A needs-based system of communication and self-discipline within a group of clinicians can overcome barriers to patient access through improved relationships with third-party administrators in the workers’ compensation system.
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