The requirements of G.S. 97-25 may be satisfied by contracting with a managed care organization. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, if an employer or carrier contracts with a managed care organization for medical services pursuant to this Article, those employees who are covered by the contract with the managed care organization shall receive medical services for a condition for which the employer has accepted liability or authorized treatment under this Article in the manner prescribed by the contract and in accordance with the managed care organization’s certificate of authority; provided that the contract complies with rules adopted by the Commission, consistent with this Article, governing managed care organizations. An employee must exhaust all dispute resolution procedures of a managed care organization before applying to the Commission for review of any issue related to medical services compensable under this Article. Once application to the Commission has been made, the employee shall be entitled to an examination by a duly qualified physician or surgeon in the same manner as provided by G.S. 97-27.
If an employee’s medical services are provided through a managed care organization pursuant to this section, subject to the rules of the managed care organization, the employee shall select the attending physician from those physicians who are members of the managed care organization’s panel, and may subsequently change attending physicians once within the group of physicians who are members of the managed care organization’s panel without approval from the employer or insurer. Additional changes in the attending physician or any change to a physician or examination by a physician not a member of the insurer’s managed care organization’s panel shall only be made pursuant to the organization’s contract or upon reasonable grounds by order of the Commission. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 679, s. 2.1.)