Hi this is Brian Wiklendt. I’m lead counsel at Garfinkel Schwartz. And I’m coming to you today from our Maitland Florida offices, we also have offices on the Space Coast of Florida which is in Cocoa Beach.
Today I’m going to talk to you about finding a First Choice Doctor if you are going overseas as a civilian contractors under government contracts, and are on the way there.
It’s your right to choose your physician and is offered to you through a form called an LS-1 that you can download from the U.S. Department of Labor. Watch our video called, “Before You Leave Find First Choice Doctor” on the Garfinkel Schwartz YouTube channel.
What you might not know is that if you’re injured overseas, your doctor is going to be covered by the Defense Base Act. Not many people even are told or know that.
However my advice to them is during the process of your checklist in terms of getting ready to go overseas whether that’s Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Africa, wherever, just prepare that you may get injured there.
Your Right to Choose a Doctor
And when I say prepare I mean the first thing I would do is call me of course.
Just to make sure you have someone on call an attorney on call if you do get injured and your employer starts doing things that they probably shouldn’t be doing it’s always nice to have someone on call. It’s free under the act.
So I have plenty of clients on call that I monitor just in case something bad happens to them.
First Choice Physician
Number two would be that it is under the defense base act you have a doctor of your own choosing it’s called a First Choice Physician.
That’s actually a form you would file with the Department of Labor it’s called an LS-1 form and one it’s probably being one of the first forms that would be filled out by you.
Of course most people don’t know anything about this and when they get injured they get sent somewhere say like Germany or Dubai to a hospital.
And someone comes in or someone calls and talks to them and says I’m going to be your case manager or your caseworker or adjuster or whatever they call themselves and they send you to wherever they want.
They say where do you live? Let’s try to get you treated here or there. Go to this doctor go to that doctor and just follow their advice. Well those are doctors that are chosen by the insurance company.
You have the right under this law which is relatively rare in terms federal laws that you don’t have to say “OK, I’ll just go to wherever you tell me to.”
If You’re Injured, YOU Choose Your Doctor
You can go to a doctor of your own choosing.
So what I would do if I were you and I was getting ready on my checklist to get my tennis shoes ready and all my gear ready I would also say, “hey why don’t I call some doctors and some people in case I get hurt over there in my hometown or at least have my family do that so that if I do get injured I do get a choice.”
And you can say to the hospital, the doctors, the insurance company if you are hurt: “hey wait a minute, I don’t want to go to Landstihl Hospital in Germany because of my back injury. I want to go to my doctor in Houston that I have already pre-chosen. Just give me the form and I’m just going to put his name on there.
“And I want you to go and I want you to pay for the evaluation for the doctor of my own choosing.”
Defense Base Act Law Protects You, Your Choices
The law allows you to do that but insurance companies don’t want you to know that so it really would be good if you did have a plethora of doctors an orthopedic surgeon in mind.
I’m not saying think the worst good luck out there but if something does happen you should be prepared just as much as you’re prepared to go out in the field.
And that’s one thing that would really help out that you know your rights ahead of time if you get injured you already know where you’re going to go.
You tell everyone I want a plane ticket to this place my hometown and I want an opening as soon as they have an appointment ready for me.
So 15 hours later, once you get back here you already know there are things in place you’re going to a doctor that you’re comfortable with that’s comfortable with the insurance, that’s comfortable with dealing with AIG, and CNA and all the other insurance companies that you know will be a neutral person that will be a treating person on your behalf that will tell you exactly what’s wrong with you. And how long you’re going to have to be out of work and then set a regimen for you as to what should happen next.
Instead of I’m not going to say that all doctors are like this I’m just saying that some that I’ve seen in my experiences tend to the ones that are on an insurance company list are going to try to get you back to work as fast as humanly possible without giving you expensive testing like TBI Traumatic Brain Injury type testing in case you hit your head or neurological testing if there’s something really going on with your spine they try to minimize whatever they can do and they say, “OK, he’s ready to go back to work when you may or may not be ready. So it’s good to have a doctor of your own choosing.
It’s called your First Choice Physician under the Defense Base Act.
So good luck, good luck in your endeavors. I hope you’re all right, I hope you do well. I hope you get back safely and soon and thank you for serving our country.
So again Brian Wiklendt signing out from the Maitland office of Garfinkel Schwartz thank you very much for your time.