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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111605
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am writing today regarding an employment law question. I

Customer Question

Hello. I am writing today regarding an employment law question. I have been out of work for the last year and a half due to a work related injury. Every month I have to get documentation from my doctor for my workplace showing that I am still to remain out of work. This is in addition to the paperwork that workers comp requires from the doctors office. I have been seeing this doctor for nine months. In September I requested my documentation to be sent to my work. They told me to come back a couple of days later and during that time I received a letter from my work stating that if I didn't get the paperwork to them by a certain deadline I would be placed on an unauthorized leave and lose my benefits. I had to call them back and had to explain to them that i just received this letter in the mail from my work and that i needed the paperwork immediately because of the deadline. They still gave me a hard time about getting the paperwork done on time and I got frustrated trying to explain to them that I needed this paperwork immediately in order to meet this deadline. Since then I have a hard time getting this documentation from the doctors office on time for my works deadline for receiving this information , even though they knew I had to certify each month that I was supposed to still be out of work. For the past several months my work has sent me letters stating that they are going to place me on an unauthorized leave of absence putting my benefits and overall job status in danger. Knowing that I need this documentation every month and that the form is only one page that just requires them to change the dates only I don't understand why they cant have this paperwork ready for me. They have now called back and said that they can no longer see me as a patient. Can this be considered discrimination based on my disability?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
A doctor has a right to decide who they want to see or not. As long as the doctor is not refusing to treat a patient with a life threatening emergency, they have the right to terminate someone as a patient. It is not considered disability discrimination for the doctor to not continue treating the patient in this situation. As far as completing paperwork for an employer, doctors offices are not mandated under any law to fill out this paperwork, they do so as a courtesy to their patients. All the doctor has to do is treat you and provide you copies of your medical records at your request. As far as completing forms it is up to the doctor and if they refuse, then the patient fills out the form WITHOUT the doctor's signature and attaches copies of their medical record which they have a right to obtain from the doctor and that is all they can do.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your response. This physician is receiving payment from workers compensation and has committed to providing care to workers comp patients. I am a Corrections Officer with the New York State Department of corrections and I work in direct contact with inmates. This documentation for my work is required by policy due to the nature of the work I perform. Due to the severe nature of my injury, before I can return to work my neurologist needs to certify that I am fit for duty. The issue is not whether or not I am fit for duty. My neurologist says I am not fit for duty and beleives I am still disabled, and therefore needs to fill out paperwork documenting my disability. She has been filling out this form since May 2015. I am not allowed to fill out the documents with just my records as this would be considered fraudulent. If this form is not filled out by the physician I will be terminated. Does she not bear any responsibility for this if I get terminated when she has been filling out these forms since I started seeing her in May 2015? When I first met with her she was aware that these forms needed to be filled out monthly if she was going to continue keeping me out of work.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your reply and additional information.
Legally, no, she can terminate you as a patient if she no longer wants to do so. You need to discuss it directly with the doctor, as this may be a decision made by the office manager and the doctor is unaware. However, legally the doctor can decide to terminate the patient relationship, even if they are under workers compensation. If the doctor confirms they do not want to continue the relationship, you also need to contact your W/C provider about getting a new doctor and explain the issue. Unfortunately, the law is not going to mandate them to continue treating you.

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