Texas’ Designated Doctor program has witnessed a decrease in the number of physicians who are participating in the program. According to an open records request of Designated Doctor data, physician participation in the program decreased by 67 percent from January 1, 2011 (1,361 physician) to January 1, 2016 (447 physicians).
The goal of the Designated Doctor program is to provide an optimal examination to an injured worker to ensure the best possible outcome. However, an optimal examination may not be possible without a broad representation of physician specialties available to the injured worker. For some injuries, such as a complex musculoskeletal injury, it is critical for the injured worker to have access to the Designated Doctor who has the highest level of training. And that Designated Doctor is likely to be an orthopaedic surgeon, who has completed four years of medical school, a five-year residency in orthopaedics, and at least one fellowship in a sub-specialty field.
The Texas Department of Insurance – Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) has the ability to attract more physicians to the Designated Doctor program through the changes in the regulatory process. You are strongly encouraged to contact your state representative and senator to ask them to sign a letter to Ryan Brannan, the Workers’ Comp commissioner, to ask him to make changes to the Designated Doctor program.
You are encouraged to click on the link below to send an e-mail to your state representative and senator to ask them to sign the letter. Please contact Bobby Hillert, the Texas Orthopaedic Association’s executive director, with any questions. He can be reached via e-mail at Bobby@toa.org or via mobile phone at 214.728.7672.
The goal is to send the letter to Commissioner Brannan by June 30.
Click here to read example letter
Click here for a factsheet on the issue