Tennessee workers’ compensation investigation: Key takeaways

The Commercial Appeal spent months speaking with injured workers and reviewing hundreds of documents related to workers’ compensation cases in Tennessee.

Here are the seven takeaways from our investigation of the system.

If you’re hurt on the job, companies that represent your employer can block your treatment

Gelacio Juarez sits with his wife Martha Hernandez as she wipes away tears while discussing his back injury at their Collierville home on Friday, April 22, 2022. Juarez said he still suffers severe pain from the injury.

If you are hurt on the job in Tennessee, the company you work for will likely coordinate with an insurance company or a third-party claims administrator to handle your treatment.

Those companies represent your employer and they have a financial incentive to reduce costs. The companies can block your medicine, your physical therapy, or even your surgery, overruling the judgment of the doctor who’s treating you.

The companies that represent your employer can block treatment through a process called utilization review. The company sends your medical records to another doctor, often in another state.

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