Under the laws currently in effect, the answer is “yes.” We agree with you that there certainly appears to be a cozy relationship between an employer and a doctor who gets a substantial amount of business (in the form of a constant and steady supply of patients) from that employer. In a lot of settings this would be an unacceptable conflict of interest. Despite this, the current laws permit it.

You probably don’t have to worry that the company doctor is going to ignore your medical condition just for the fun and profit of your employer. But you should be aware that the doctor may have an agreement in place with your employer not to remove anyone from work or that they will answer any questions the employer may have “off the record.” We’ve seen instances when company doctors require injured workers to waive any and all confidentiality rights in order to be seen. However, both of these occur with other doctors who treat a lot of workers’ compensation claimants even when there is no formal relationship with an employer or insurance company.