A doctor is not just a mechanic, tinkering with various body parts until they're humming along at maximum efficiency. No, a doctor can be much more to his or her patients.
The bond between doctor and patient is quite often intimate. Understandably, when you are injured at work, usually you'd prefer to see your own doctor. However, under the strictures of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation system, you are not always able to do so. For anyone who faces a workplace injury or occupational illness, it is important to understand the circumstances that guide which physician will be handling your care.
Must Go to One of Employer-Listed Physicians for Initial Treatment
Employees are required to treat with a medical provider on the employer's list of designated physicians for 90 days. The employer will remain liable for treatment for non-panel physicians if it does not provide written notice to the employee that treatment with a panel physician is required. The employer is required to notify the employee that treatment with a non-panel provider is required and obtain written acknowledgement of that notification both at the time of hire and immediately after the injury or as soon thereafter as possible under the circumstances. After the 90 days, an employee can treat with a physician of their own choosing. An employee may select the employees own physician during the 90 days if the employer fails to provide such a list.
During the 90 days, you may select any of the choices provided. The list of healthcare providers must have no more than four coordinated care organizations and no fewer than three physicians. If there are no chiropractors on the list, then the employee can see a chiropractor of their choosing. Following your first visit, you must continue treatment with a doctor or a combination of doctors on the employer provided list for a period of 90 days. After the 90 days are up, you may treat with any doctor of your choice.
There is one special circumstance during the 90 day period you should also be aware of. If you are seeing one of the employer-listed doctors and he or she recommends invasive surgery, you have the right to obtain a second opinion by a physician of your choice. However, any treatment recommended as a result of a second opinion must be provided by one of the six or more employer-listed care providers if it takes place within the 90 day window.
Talk To a Workers' Comp Attorney
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation system is very complex; figuring out which doctor you can go to for treatment of your work-related injury is just one small part of an intricate process. If you have been injured on the job, get in touch with a Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Attorney today and learn more about how to make a successful claim for benefits.