It takes a lot to become an orthopedic doctor. Because those jobs tend to pay so well, many of the best and brightest medical students take those jobs. Most doctors in that practice make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if not millions. Essentially once you get in to that area of practice you’ll never have to worry about money again. That is unless you are so greedy that you lie and steal your way to more until you get caught.
While we don’t tell our clients who they have to treat with if they are injured (some really shady lawyers do and it’s often a tit for tat situation), we will make recommendations if asked. If you are with a terrible medical group we will warn you and encourage you to seek treatment elsewhere. That’s because some medical practices have such bad reputations at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission that insurance companies won’t pay the bills if you get hurt and treat there.
There is one outfit in the Chicago area that supposedly only has the patients meet with physician assistants instead of the doctor. They then (allegedly) fraudulently bill as if the doctor saw the patient. This is great for their bottom line and probably their golf game, but it’s terrible for your health and your work comp case.
One of these groups was all over lawyers last summer at a work comp attorney golf outing. There’s nothing wrong with doctors and lawyers talking or being friends. I do have a problem with attorneys who look out for doctors more than their clients and doctors who look out for lawyers more than their patients. Many of these doctors will order treatment until the bills aren’t getting paid and will then say you are fine. Some of them require you to do physical therapy at their office.
If you have a doctor’s appointment and don’t see a doctor, it’s a really bad sign. Physicians assistants shouldn’t be treating torn ACL’s, herniated discs, labrum tears or any other serious injury. If your doctor is billing as if he’s seeing you when he’s not, it’s insurance fraud.
The bottom line is that these types of doctors are bad for your health and can lead to your medical bills not getting paid if you are hurt at work. Insurance companies have to pay for reasonable medical care. Fake billing of course isn’t reasonable medical care and could potentially lead to the doctor suing you.