Workers' compensation laws are governed by two systems: federal and state. For Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor and Industry administers the PA Workers' Compensation Act (hereinafter the "Act") which enshrines your rights under the system. The idea of workers' compensation is to balance yours' and your boss' interests. One of those balances is that your employer can require you use one of their doctors. This article will discuss that requirement and how it could impact your case.
For example, consider that you are seriously injured a factory or industrial accident. First, get help at the closest hospital. But, after that, you probably want to go to your own doctor. A cornerstone of the American health care system is the PPO (or Preferred Provider Organization), which basically means that you can find and use any doctor you like, if they are in the insurance system.
Contrary to that tradition, the "Act" permits employers to designate their own list of approved health care providers. This means that you can't go to your own doctor - you must use the one your employer picks. Thankfully the "Act" doesn't allow employers to generate one-doctor lists, so you do get some choice. But, unless your doctor is on that list, you can't use your own doctor. The "Act" also includes a number of other requirements including:
- The list of health care providers must be accessible, so your boss can't pick doctors based in Philadelphia.
- Employers cannot force you to pick one doctor over another.
- If you suffer a serious injury that requires a specialist, like in a factor accident, then your employer must include specialists.
If you are filing a workers' compensation claim then you may want to consult with a lawyer. As you can see, getting your money isn't always as simple as mailing in the application. Your employer can require you to jump through some hoops - which you may have to comply with. Don't risk your compensation because you forget a date or your boss tries to hide something from you. Take action to secure your rights.