“We have determined it is necessary for you to attend a second opinion examination.”
A second opinion examination… That’s a good thing, right?
If you have been receiving compensation benefits from OWCP, it is likely you have heard or will hear these words. These words should strike fear into the heart of any Federal Employee with an accepted OWCP claim because they so often signal the beginning of the end.
When OWCP is paying benefits to a claimant they have the right to have you examined by a doctor of their choice as often as they think reasonable. This is called a second opinion exam. It happens quite often.
The claims examiner casually informs you that they have instructed their OWCP medical scheduler to schedule this appointment. It is common OWCP policy to use the Physicians Directory Database to select the physician. It is very important to remember that the doctor performing this examination for OWCP usually has an extensive history with OWCP. Indeed, these assignments may be his primary source of income.
OWCP takes the position that their procedure ensures that second opinion examinations are of the highest quality possible and that the selection process for second opinion specialists is fair and well documented.
It may be a recurring coincidence, but we feel that certain physicians in certain regions are repeatedly called upon for these examinations. Unfortunately for the claimant, almost every report we have read from these particular physicians are not helpful to the injured worker. In other words, these exams are scheduled to obtain evidence that will allow the OWCP to question their obligation to continue to pay benefits for your claim.
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