The relationship between a patient and their physician is sacred — so you probably don’t relish the idea that somebody else gets to dictate what doctor you see after an injury.
Unfortunately, injured workers in Pennsylvania have to put up with some intrusion from their employers when it comes to medical care provided under this state’s workers’ comp system — to a point.
You probably have to choose a doctor from your employer’s “panel list”
Most employers compile and post a “panel list” with at least six medical providers (including at least three who are actual physicians). You generally have to pick one of those providers to handle your care for the first 90 days.
However, there are some limits on your employer’s privileges:
- If you need a specialist’s care and no specialist of that type is on your employer’s list, then you may choose your own provider.
- All of the medical providers on the panel list must be “geographically accessible.”
- Your employer may not steer you toward any particular medical provider that’s on the list.
- If you are unhappy with the medical provider you chose, you may switch to another provider on the panel list at will.
Keep in mind that you can obtain acute care after an injury at any clinic, hospital or emergency center as needed — and that has no bearing on your selection of a treating physician from the panel list for follow-up care or ongoing treatment.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to be a “no-fault” system that makes it easy for people to get the medical benefits and replacement wages they need after an on-the-job injury, but problems often creep up. If you feel like you aren’t being treated fairly, there is help available.