After you are injured at work, you should receive a list of medical providers from your employer. The PA Workers’ Compensation Act established this right for employers to put forth a list of designated medical providers. This is often referred to as a “panel list.”
A key part of that Act, though, is that employers must not direct employees to any provider on that list directly – and “if the employer’s list of designated providers fails to comply with the Act and the regulations, the employee has the right to treat with a provider of his or her choice.”
Choosing Your Doctor after a Workers’ Comp Injury
After you are injured at work, you are required to treat with a “panel physician” for the first 90. After you are injured, you should request the panel list from your employer. This list must have at least six providers, ranging from primary care physicians to orthopedic and neurosurgical specialists to chiropractors to physical therapists. If you need to see a doctor or specialist that is not on the panel list, you may do so—so long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to your work injury.
What to look for in a Doctor
Even if you are limited to the panel list from your employer, you should still look to choose the best doctor to treat your injuries. From the available options, choose someone who you feel will properly assess and treat your workers’ compensation injury. Things you should consider when selecting a doctor include:
- Experience with the type of injury or medical condition you have
- Experience with the workers’ compensation process (including how the claims process and medical fee schedule works)
- Willingness to support your workers’ comp claim with detailed reports
- Access/availability for appointments especially within the timeframe you need to meet for your claim
As part of your workers’ compensation claim process, you will likely need to required to attend an independent medical exam, or an IME. An IME is a medical evaluation performed by a medical professional other than the doctor or healthcare provider that is directly involved in the treatment of that patient, to evaluate the patient’s course of prior treatment and current condition. When it comes to a workers’ compensation claim, an IME usually also seeks to address whether or not the injury could have been reasonably caused by a work-related event or accident. Your IME will be conducted by someone other than your treating practitioner.
Consult With an Attorney
If you are in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania region and need to file a workers’ compensation claim or currently have one open, Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. is ready to work for you. Trusted members of the Lancaster community, our lawyers are experienced worker’s compensation specialists who earn large settlements for their clients and will guide you through the process. For a free consultation, call 1-800-HURT-NOW.