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What You Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation and Panel Doctors

May 26th, 2016

Choosing a doctor is a deeply personal matter. You need to find someone who is conveniently located, affordable, and whom you trust with your most important health needs. That can be difficult if you have been injured on the job and are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. Your company will have some say in the doctors you can visit, and the company’s wishes may not always match yours.

It is important to remember that you have rights that affect what you can do in this situation.WWD-certified-workers-comp

You have a choice of doctors

If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim in the state of Pennsylvania, your employer is required to provide a list of six health care providers, including four doctors, for you to visit. Your employer cannot dictate which of those healthcare providers you choose to visit.

If you are not satisfied with the results of the first visit, you can seek a second opinion in some limited instances, such as if a doctor has recommended surgery. Workers’ compensation will not cover a second opinion for treatment recommendations such as therapy or work restrictions, but if you aren’t satisfied with the doctor’s counsel, you can ask to see another of your employer’s designated physicians.

If your employer does not provide a list of designated physicians, you can visit any doctor of your choice, and your employer is obligated to pay for your claim (assuming the work injury is not denied by your employer / insurer.)

90 days change everything

For 90 days after your workers’ compensation claim is filed, it is advisable to use the list of designated physicians provided by your employer. If you choose to visit a doctor who is not on the list, the company is not obligated to pay for the treatment.

After 90 days, however, you are free to visit any doctor you wish and to seek out a second opinion on treatment recommendations, work restrictions, diagnostic testing and more.

Even within that first 90 days, you still can visit your own family doctor. You can schedule a “wellness visit,” such as a routine checkup or visit to deal with an issue not related to the work injury. During your visit, you can mention any work-related injuries and any treatment you might be receiving from a designated doctor. Your family doctor may not be able to treat you for that injury, but he or she can advise you and also will record the conversation in his or her notes, which can be used later in the event of future legal action.

Whether a worker injured on the job is required to seek treatment from an employer’s designated physicians can be a complicated issue. The certified workers’ compensation lawyers at Willig, Williams & Davidson can help answer questions about a work injury; call us at 800-631-1233.

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