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MPNs, HCOs, and More: Receiving Medical Care for a Work Injury


After a worker suffers from an on-the-job injury, receiving proper treatment is a top priority — and being compensated for their expenses often follows as a close second. To achieve the goal of securing the proper benefits, injured employees generally have to follow regulations that designate how medical care can be received. Workers’ compensation systems require injured employees to visit certain medical providers to treat their work-related injuries. In California, employees who are harmed at work may need to visit an MPN, HCO, approved medical examiner, or predesignated physician.

What is an MPN?

MPN is an abbreviation for medical provider network. An MPN is a collective of doctors and healthcare professionals who are chosen by a business and its workers’ compensation insurance company, and approved by the California Division of Workers’ Compensation. Not all employers have an MPN. When an employee of a business that does have an MPN is injured on the job, they must choose from the selection of medical providers within the MPN for treatment. The employer or a representative from their workers’ compensation insurance provider will provide injured employees with a list of doctors in the MPN.

What is an HCO?

HCO stands for health care organization. Whereas an MPN is selected by the employer and their insurance provider, an HCO is associated with the California Division of Workers’ Compensation. Doctors who are included in an HCO are more intertwined with the state’s workers’ compensation system than other medical providers — they must work with the system, their patients, and employers to create a care plan and help the employee return to their job.

Predesignating a Physician

To receive treatment form a doctor of their choosing, workers must predesignate that doctor, usually upon employment. To qualify, the doctor must have provided treatment to the employee previously, and must agree to provide treatment for work injuries. The agreement must be in writing and given to the employer.

Agreed Medical Examination (AME)

If an employer does not have an MPN or and HCO, and the injury victim does not have a predesignated physician, a doctor will be chosen by the employer’s insurance provider. The injured worker can provide input and ultimately must agree with the choice to begin treatment.

Our attorneys can assist you during the process of deciding on an AME, or with any step of your workers’ compensation claim.

To schedule a free consultation with Alvandi Law Group, P.C., call (800) 980-6905 or use our contact form.



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