The Department of Labor & Industries is now accepting applications for the statewide workers’ compensation medical network that will launch in 2013. Network providers will care for injured workers covered by L&I as well as by self-insured employers.
Beginning January 2013, certain medical care providers that practice in Washington state must be in the network to treat injured workers beyond the initial office or emergency-room visit. These include physicians, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, podiatric doctors, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, and optometrists.
“We want every great health-care provider in the state to be part of our network,” said Beth Dupre, Assistant Director for Insurance Services. “Your patients are counting on your participation. I urge you to apply early, so we can have credentialing completed before the network launches.”
The standards for joining the network are described in new administrative rules, effective Feb. 3, 2012.
Providers can apply at www.JoinTheNetwork.Lni.wa.gov. Throughout 2012, L&I will be reaching out to current L&I providers to invite them to apply. New providers (of the types listed above) may apply to the network at any time.
Current providers for L&I must re-apply, including providers that participate in the Centers for Occupational Health and Education (COHE).
Other provider types and out-of-state providers can continue treating injured workers until they are invited to join the network at a later date.
After the network launches, injured workers will be able to see a non-network provider, but only for the initial visit. They must then choose a network provider for ongoing care. L&I will help workers locate a network provider.
L&I’s new provider network is part of historic legislation passed in 2011, Substitute Senate Bill 5801, to improve workers’ outcomes following injury. High-quality medical care helps both injured workers and their employers, by supporting recovery which reduces unnecessary costs.
In addition to creating the network, the legislation expands access to the state’s COHEs and directs L&I to offer incentives to network providers who use best practices for occupational health. Complete information on the network and a copy of the new standards are available at the Provider Network and COHE Expansion website.