While it is true that certain occupations carry increased risk, a workplace injury can happen at any time. Even the safest workers can suffer injuries while performing their daily activities. When these injuries occur, workers often have many questions about the workers’ compensation process in Pennsylvania.
One of the most frequently asked questions concerns who the workers will be allowed to see to have their injuries treated. While many workers will already have a doctor of physician that they see on a frequent basis for other health needs, chances are these medical professionals will not be the ones who will be providing the care for the workplace injuries.
In Pennsylvania, there are specific rules in place for an injured worker seeking workers’ compensation. When an employee begins working for an employer, the employer must provide a list of designated physicians that will be responsible for treating workers in the event of an injury. The statement must then be signed by the employee at the time of hire.
The list must include at least six different options, at least three of which must be physicians. They must be close geographically, to ensure that workers will not have to spend excessive time traveling to receive treatment.
Exceptions are made for those workers whose injuries require treatment by specialists. If the list provided by the employer does not address the injuries, it is possible that workers may treat these injuries with the doctor of their choosing.
If the injuries fall within the scope of those providers on the list, injured workers will be required to see these providers for treatment for 90 days from the first visit. Workers may switch between doctors on the list, but must receive treatment from one of the doctors on the list for the complete 90-day period before they will be allowed to see other medical professionals for treatment of the workplace injuries.
If the employer does not comply with these requirements, it is possible that these requirements will not apply to injured workers. This can be an extremely confusing situation for someone who is going through the workers’ compensation process for the first time. Knowing the steps that must be taken can help ensure that benefits are received in a timely manner.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry “Physicians List Defined“