New workers' comp medical network to launch in 2013

Officials from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries are sending letters to thousands of injured workers to let them know if their doctors have joined a new state workers’ compensation medical network set to launch on Jan. 1, 2013.

The network implementation is a part of a series of workers’ compensation reform passed into law in 2011. State officials are trying to cut the program’s costs while improving outcomes for injured workers.

Once the network begins next year, an injured worker will be able to see any doctor during an initial office or emergency room visit, but for additional care they will have to see a medical provider within the network, according to L&I officials.

“We have about 6,000 doctors in our network, and we expect to have many more by the time we launch the network on Jan. 1,” said Vickie Kennedy, L&I’s chief policy adviser, in a press release. “The new network will help injured workers get the best possible care and return more workers to good health and their jobs.”

Health care providers required to be in the network include: physicians, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, doctors of podiatry, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists and optometrists.

Providers who are not in the network won’t be paid for treating injured workers, except for the initial office or emergency room visit when a claim is filed.

Anyone can check to see if their doctor is in the medical provider network by visiting www.FindADoc.Lni.wa.gov, an online directory that is updated daily.

Workers can find more information at www.NetworkInfo.Lni.wa.gov.

Doctors can apply to the network at www.JointheNetwork.Lni.wa.gov.

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