(a) If an impairment rating is disputed, the commissioner shall direct the employee to the next available doctor on the division’s list of designated doctors, as provided by Section 408.0041.
(b) The designated doctor shall report in writing to the division.
(c) The report of the designated doctor shall have presumptive weight, and the division shall base the impairment rating on that report unless the preponderance of the other medical evidence is to the contrary. If the preponderance of the medical evidence contradicts the impairment rating contained in the report of the designated doctor chosen by the division, the division shall adopt the impairment rating of one of the other doctors.
(d) To avoid undue influence on a person selected as a designated doctor under this section, only the injured employee or an appropriate member of the staff of the division may communicate with the designated doctor about the case regarding the injured employee’s medical condition or history before the examination of the injured employee by the designated doctor. After that examination is completed, communication with the designated doctor regarding the injured employee’s medical condition or history may be made only through appropriate division staff members. The designated doctor may initiate communication with any doctor who has previously treated or examined the injured employee for the work-related injury.
(e) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), the treating doctor and the insurance carrier are both responsible for sending to the designated doctor all the injured employee’s medical records that are in their possession and that relate to the issue to be evaluated by the designated doctor. The treating doctor and the insurance carrier may send the records without a signed release from the employee. The designated doctor is authorized to receive the employee’s confidential medical records to assist in the resolution of disputes. The treating doctor and the insurance carrier may also send the designated doctor an analysis of the injured employee’s medical condition, functional abilities, and return-to-work opportunities.
(f) A violation of Subsection (d) is an administrative violation.
Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 269, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 980, § 1.28, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1456, § 5.04, eff. June 17, 2001.
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 265 (H.B. 7), § 3.115, eff. September 1, 2005.