[Editorial note: Unlike New Jersey, medical provider choice in Nebraska is at the option of the injured worker. In New Jersey the employer controls medical treatment and the choice of physician. Choice of medical provider by an injured worker contributes substantially to the well being of the injured worker and should be the national model. Jon L Gelman]
Employers and insurance carriers can lower their workers’ compensation costs by the thousands by taking control of an injured workers’ care from the onset of injury. This is why employers often provide nurse case managers to monitor claims. However nurse case managers can also be expensive. That is why some employers are turning to an even cheaper alternative: nursing triage services on company premises or at nearby clinics.
The reality is that these nursing services are just another way to keep costs down, by reducing the likelihood that workers will seek the care of real physicians.
Nursing triage services, or company nurses as they are often called, are presented to workers as a benefit. They are presented as knowledgeable and experienced in treating workplace injuries, and it may seem as though they are there simply to provide solid medical care. The reality is that these nursing services are just another way to keep costs down, by reducing the likelihood that workers will seek the care of real physicians. Company nurses simply do not deliver what injured workers are entitled to under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act: the care of a real doctor. In Nebraska, you have the right to be treated by your family physician. Your family doctor can provide better medical care than a company nurse for many reasons, not the least of which is that licensed physicians can prescribe medications while nurse practitioners cannot.
Many employers and insurance carriers will tell you that you can only be treated by a doctor or nurse whom they authorize. That is not the law in Nebraska. Insist that you be seen by your family physician, and if your employer attempts to deny you this right, seek the help of an attorney who can fight to get you treatment you legally deserve.