I often am asked whether an injured worker must with a Company Doctor. The short answer to that question is, probably.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation statute provides for ‘panel doctors”.
What does that mean?
Quite simply, if your employer has a list of panel doctors and has complied with all regulations regarding that list, then you MUST treat with the company panel doctors for a period of 90 days. If your Employer does not have a list of panel doctors provided, then you are free to treat with a doctor of your choice.
So what are the requirements?
1) The panel doctor list must contain at least 6 panel health care providers, of which, 3 must be physicians. 2) The list must be posted at the workplace. 3) Your Employer must provide written notification to you regarding the list of panel doctors at two separate times. First, notification must be provided at hiring or when established. Second, written notification must be provided immediately after the work injury. 4) The health care providers on the list must be geographically accessible.
Are there any exceptions?
There is an emergency exception. This means that if you require emergency treatment because of your work injury, you can seek emergency treatment and not at your expense. Once the emergency treatment is completed, then you must comply with the panel doctor provisions. Additionally, if the panel list does not include a chiropractic provider and it is proper for your specific work injury, then you are free to treat with a chiropractor of your choice.
Can my employer designate which doctor on the panel list I must treat with?
No. Your employer may not specify which doctor on the panel list that you must treat with. It is your choice. Additionally, your employer cannot make you switch to a different panel doctor once treatment commences.
Will my benefits be suspended if I treat with my own doctor during the 90 days?
No. However, if you chose to treat outside the penal list of doctors within the 90 days, your medical expenses will likely not be covered, meaning, they are your exclusive responsibility.
Finally, what happens after the 90 days?
You are free to treat with any health care provider of your choice.
Don’t hesitate to consult with a Mooney & Associates attorney when you are injured at work. Even if you employer is paying you wage loss benefits and medical benefits, you should still consult with us so we can assure your rights remain protected. They are too important to not protect.
For a free consultation to discuss your work injury, call us at 1-877-632-4656 or email us at [email protected]
Our firm represents injured workers in Franklin County, Fulton County, Cumberland County, Adams County, Dauhpin County, York, Count,y and Perry County in Pennsylvania, including the areas of Chambersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro, Shippensburg, Newville, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Hanover, Gettsyburg, York, New Oxford, and surrounding areas.