Previous editions of Straight Track have discussed how the claim agent begins to build a file of information on the injured railroader immediately after a work injury.
What hasn't been discussed yet, is that the file will contain as much medical information that the railroad can find and that that typically comes to the railroad directly from your treating doctor.
Unless properly advised, your treating doctor may mistakenly believe that the railroad is paying your medical bills, and thus, the railroad should be given your medical records.
Further, your treating doctor may also incorrectly believe that you have waived your doctor / patient privilege.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR TREATING DOCTOR
If you are injured, you have the right to choose your treating doctor. Although the railroad may try to direct you to a "company" doctor for an examination, which you may have a contractual obligation to go to, your negotiated health insurance program allows you to make the decision who will be your treating doctor.
You must choose a doctor that you are confident of his professional abilities and that he is looking after your best interests. Equally as important, you want your doctor to become well informed as if he were your "best friend." (NOTE: Under most labor contracts, you have the right under your medical insurance plan to choose your own treating doctor(s). The following railroads are just a few exceptions: Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; CN/IC; Iowa Interstate; CP Rail and Wisconsin Central. Always check your labor contract.)
HAVE YOUR DOCTOR GET TO KNOW YOU
Your relationship with a treating doctor should be built before you are injured. If allowed by your insurance program and to promote your general health, find a family doctor, now, and get regular physical examinations. Not only will you benefit from periodic examinations, and perhaps early diagnosis of potential health risks, but in the event of a traumatic work injury, your personal doctor will be prepared to help and protect you and your family.
Even if you already have a doctor or have been injured, it is never too late to start building a relationship with your doctor.
Explain to your doctor the type of work you do and your insurance coverage. Have your doctor read the document, "Knowing Your Patient, the Railroad Employee" that explains your rights as a railroad employee with regards to health care issues. If you would also like to provide your doctor with a copy your "job description", as mentioned in the document, please vist our Forms Shanty or contact our office at 1-888-425-1212 and we will be happy to send one to you or directly to your doctor.