Choosing your healthcare provider after a workplace injury

Many employees in Pennsylvania enjoy an amicable relationship with their employers, and this generally continues even after an employee is injured in a workplace accident. Many employers will work together with their employees in the event that the worker suffers an on-the-job injury, mostly because the employer values the worker's contributions and wants the worker to return to the job as soon as possible after recovery.

To this end, many employers will post a list of six or more health care providers that employees should see if a mishap results in a workplace injury. But, besides being helpful in suggesting recommended health care providers, this type of list serves another purpose: under the workers' compensation laws in Pennsylvania, if an employer does indeed have such a list posted, an injured worker must visit one of the physicians on the list - not one of the employee's choice.

Some of our Pennsylvania readers may think, "But, I have a primary care physician. Why do I need to see someone else that the employer recommends?" The answer, as some may guess, comes down to money. Under the applicable laws in Pennsylvania, if an injured or ill worker visits a health care provider other than one on the employer's posted list, the costs for that treatment may not be covered.

In fact, when an employee begins to receive workers' compensation benefits, the employer even has the right to request that the employee be examined by a health care provider of the employer's choice, at least for an examination. And, during the course of treatment, the employer is also entitled to regular updates regarding the employee's condition and recovery.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker," Accessed Oct. 17, 2015

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