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An injured worker can change the treating physician, subject to the employer's control under Labor Code §4601 or, if there is a medical provider network (MPN), under Labor Code §4616.3. If there is no pre-designated treater or healthcare organization, or the employer has no MPN, then see Labor Code §4600.

The injured worker can change treaters multiple times and does not have to show good cause for the change. The employer has the right to object and to petition the administrative director for a change of treater but must show good cause (see Labor Code §4603).

Predesignation: SB 863 changed Labor Code §4600 slightly. See new regulations to conform the changes to 8 CCR § 9780.1

2 methods to predesignate: Labor Code §4600 (changed by SB 863) & LC §4601 (not changed by SB 863)

See Primary Treating Physician; also see Second Opinion

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code Change of physician  LC §4601   
LC §4600  
Employer can petition for change LC §4603  
Regulations/Rules  Employee's Request for Change of Physician (does not apply when there is a Medical Provider Network)

Transfer of Medical Treatment (includes change of physician, predesignation, etc.)
8 CCR §9781

Regs for PTP
Cases In the leading case of Ralphs Grocery Co. v. WCAB (Lara) (1995) 38 Cal. App. 4th 820, the Court of Appeal held that injured worker is not limited to a one-time change of treating physician and imposed a penalty. The Court noted the WCAB had interpreted sections 4600 and 4601 "to permit an applicant to change physicians as often as he or she likes, within the bounds of reason."

If the injured worker is discharged from care after being found permanent and stationary, with no need for continuing care, no automatic right to a change of treater: Tenet/Centinela Hosp. Medical Center v. WCAB (2000) 80 Cal. App. 4th 1041
Ralphs Grocery Co. v. WCAB (Lara)

Tenet/Centinela Hosp. Medical Center v. WCAB
Forms Employer's Petition for Change of PTP

Predesignation forms

Petition to Change PTP

Practice Tips     
How to Petitiion for Change of Treating Physician: handout from DWC 20th annual educational conference 2/13 How to Petition  
Magazine Articles

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