Injury Treatment with the Company or “Panel” Doctors
Many injured workers are directed by their employer to a specific medical provider following a work injury. We are often asked whether this is required by law, and if there are ways to get around it. The short answer is that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does require an injured worker to treat with “panel doctors” for the first 90 days following an injury.
However, in order for the employer to take advantage of this provision in the law, the employer must follow several specific steps. If they fail to do so, then the injured worker can choose where to receive their treatment and the employer/insurance carrier will still be liable.
Instances When You Can Choose Where to Receive Treatment
Here are five instances where the injured worker would not be bound to treat with the company or “panel” doctors:
1. If, prior to the injury, your employer does not have a “panel list” of at least six health care providers available for you to treat with following an injury.
2. If your employer does not post the panel list of doctors in a prominent location where you can access it.
3. If your employer does not provide written notification of your rights and obligations regarding medical treatment.
4. If the written notification of your rights and obligations regarding medical treatment is not provided to you:
a) when you are initially hired or when there are changes made to the list of doctors; and b) again as soon as reasonably possible after the injury.
5. If your employer has not asked you to sign an acknowledgment that you have been provided with the written notification of your rights and obligations regarding medical treatment when the written notification is provided.
NOTE: If you are treating with a panel doctor, and that doctor refers you to a doctor not listed on the panel (even if it is your doctor/or a doctor you ask to be referred to) you can treat with that doctor.
If you have questions about your obligation to treat with a panel doctor, contact us or give one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys a call so we can get the facts of your particular situation and provide you advice on your rights and obligations under the Workers’ Comp Act.