Articles Banner

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Workers injured while on-the-job need to carefully choose the right medical provider to aid in getting back into good health.

Those who are injured while working often qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but finding a physician or other medical provider that fits within the legal and regulatory restriction can seem difficult. Having a basic understanding of how the process works can help.

Pennsylvania law, workers’ comp and choosing a medical provider

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry notes that the state’s Workers’ Compensation law provides employers with the opportunity to establish a list of medical care providers for injured workers to use. This list must include at least six provider options, and although not every provider must be a physician, at least six must be doctors. If the list is longer than six, other specialties can be listed.

Based off of this list, employees can choose which provider works best for their needs. The Professionals with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) published a guide to assist injured workers in finding the right physician to aid in their Workers’ Compensation claim. The group notes that there is “significant variability” in the type of care physicians provide. ACOEM recommends finding a physician that provides the best available medical practices. Although this is sound advice, actually finding a physician who meets this requirement is not always easy. The following tips can help:

  • Accessibility. It is important not only to find a good medical care provider, but to find one that is accessible. Make sure any candidate under consideration is not only taking in new patients, but also in a nearby location. It is also wise to extend the search beyond just physicians if other options are available. For some injuries, a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or even chiropractor may be the best choice.
  • Credibility. Determining the credibility of a candidate can involve a quick review of the candidate’s profile. Where did he or she train, if the candidate is a physician is he or she board certified? In addition, although a medical expert’s reputation is helpful, it is important to keep in mind that reputations are often biased. Supplement this information. One option recommended by the ACOEM is to contact nearby, large and well-managed employers and ask which physicians they use for Workers’ Compensation claims.
  • Proficiency. Review the candidate’s experience in the field of occupational health. This includes a review of training, history working with workers’ comp cases and basic familiarity with applicable laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act.

These steps can help to narrow the field of potential candidates.

Legal counsel can help

Pennsylvania state law allows for employees to chose their own provider if the list provided by the employer does not comport with state law and regulations. Workers can also generally choose their own provider after completing the first 90-day period of treatment with a qualifying provider. Navigating through this system, determining the right source for medical treatment and ensuring you receive all the benefits you are entitled to can be a difficult and time consuming process. As a result, those who are injured while on-the-job are wise to contact an experienced