Under the Pennsylvania Workman’s Comp Act, workers have the right to receive medical care for their injuries paid for by their employer. As long as a worker’s medical bills are found to be reasonable, necessary, and work-related, workers’ compensation will cover those bills. But what if an injured worker wants to see their own doctor instead of a “company” doctor?
Under the PA Workman’s Comp Act, employers do have a say in what healthcare providers an injured employee can see. They must provide at least six provider options, however, and they cannot force an employee to see any individual provider, so injured workers will still have some options. However, they can only do this if they’ve met five specific criteria.
Employers are required to do the following in order to have a say in your medical care after a work-related accident:
- Accept your workers’ compensation claim
- Post a list of six healthcare providers at your job
- Provide you with written notice of your obligation to choose a doctor on their list
- Ask you to sign your acknowledgement of that list when you’re hired
- Ask you to sign again when you’re injured
If your employer has done all these things, you’ll have to choose your initial care provider from the list provided. You’re required to meet with that doctor immediately after your injury as well as 90 days from the first appointment for a follow-up. After 90 days have elapsed, you’re free to choose your own healthcare provider.
If your employer has failed to do any one of the tasks listed above, then you’ll be able to choose any healthcare provider for your claim.
Why It’s Vital to See Your Own Doctor
The problem with seeing the company doctor is that your healthcare provider is more likely to have a conflict of interest. Company doctors make a significant portion of their income from workers’ comp referrals from employers. In theory, they should provide thorough and reasonable care regardless of why the patient was injured.
In practice, though, doctors know that if they have a record of providing workers with ‘too much’ medical care, the employer may stop sending them referral cases. Doctors are forced to strike a balance between giving patients enough care to get them well, but not so much that they’ll stop receiving referrals from the employer.
This is completely unjust. Your doctor, like your lawyer, is your advocate. Their concern should 100% be your well-being, and nothing else. Company doctors are in a position that compromises their ability to provide you with the best care possible.
Why You Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Pennsylvania
Some workers may have the opportunity to choose their own doctor immediately after an injury, but most workers won’t have a chance to do that until 90 days after their injury. Even so, it’s vital that you get a second opinion as quickly as possible if you believe your injury isn’t being adequately treated. We can help with that.
As Pennsylvania workers’ comp attorneys, it’s our job to ensure you’re getting the absolute best care possible. For instance, if your injury requires a medical specialist, you have the right to treat with a specialist of your choosing before the 90-day mark. We can ensure that you seek medical care without endangering your workers’ comp claim.
Since 1922, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC has represented workers against employers of all sizes and in all industries. It’s our duty to ensure our clients get everything they need to recover from an injury, whether that means arguing for specialized care or that means holding employers accountable for negligence. Speak with us as soon as possible to learn your medical options.
Call (888) 498-3023 today to speak with us in a free consultation.