You may know that – should you ever become injured at work or suffer from an occupational illness – workers’ compensation is available to provide some much-needed benefits, including medical care.
It may surprise you, however, to learn that you may not have total freedom of choice when it comes to where you get your medical care.
Pennsylvania allows employers to call the shots on your medical care
If your employer has created what is called a “panel list” of their approved medical providers, you will likely have to choose someone off that list to manage your care for the first 90 days after your injury or the start of your claim. This is true so long as:
- The list was properly posted where it could be seen by employees so that they have notice
- At least three of the providers on the list are physicians, rather than chiropractors or other specialists
- All of the providers are “geographically accessible” to the area (so that travel isn’t an undue burden)
Your employer may not, however, steer you to any particular provider on that list nor interfere with your care. Within the confines of the list, you are entitled to change providers as often as you like in that 90-day period.
It’s also important to note that the “panel list” has no bearing on emergency services. You can seek immediate treatment at any clinic or hospital for a workplace injury without worrying about the bill. In addition, if a panel provider needs to send you to a specialist that’s not on the list or you want to seek a second opinion about an invasive procedure, those are also covered.
Workers’ compensation claims can be very straightforward – but that’s not always how it happens. If your claim has hit a snag, it may be time to learn about your legal options.