After my work injury, who gets to pick my pharmacy?

After a work injury, Minnesota law requires the employer and workers’ compensation insurer to provide all medical care and treatment causally related to and reasonable and necessary to cure and relieve the effects of the work injury. This includes paying for necessary medications. Questions often arise as to who gets to pick the pharmacy where medications are filled.

Intuitively, you would think the injured worker gets to make the choice. That would be consistent with Minnesota law which generally allows the employee the choice of treating physicians. That is not the case, however.

The statute gives the employer and insurer the right to designate a pharmacy or network of pharmacies that an employee must use to obtain medication. Specifically, Minnesota Statutes Section 176.135, Subd. 1(g) allows an employer to designate a pharmacy at which an injured worker must obtain medication – as long as the pharmacy is within 15 miles of the employee’s place of residence. If the pharmacy is not within 15 miles, then the employee does have the choice of pharmacy.

Furthermore, an injured worker should always remember that mileage incurred in securing medication is reimbursable by the workers’ compensation insurer. As such, the mileage should be itemized and submitted. The insurer then has 30 days to reimburse the mileage from the date received.