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How injured workers can pick a doctor shortly after an injury

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

If you get hurt while on the job in Pennsylvania, the state workers’ compensation system covers your medical bills, provided you utilize the system properly. This includes choosing a doctor from an employer-provided panel of physicians in the first 90 days following the injury.

However, certain exceptions may broaden your selection of doctors. Knowing about these options could preserve your health if you require a sensitive medical procedure or timely assistance.

Emergency situations

As stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, a worker does not have to select a panel doctor in the event of an emergency. Your immediate health is your top priority. The law will not penalize you if you require quick attention from a provider who is not on the list.

A second opinion

A panel physician may recommend that you undergo an invasive procedure. You will likely have concerns about undergoing an operation, particularly one that poses some risk. Fortunately, you can visit a non-panel doctor to acquire a second opinion on your case.

Research provided by BMJ Open found that while many second opinions supported the first diagnosis or treatment, a second opinion still offered clarification in 17% of cases and an outright change from the first diagnosis in 13-15%. So a second opinion has the potential to offer you information you need to make proper care decisions.

A referred provider

After an examination, a panel physician could conclude that a different provider is the best choice to treat you. Even if the provider in question is not on the panel, you have the right to receive care from the treating doctor or specialist and begin the next step in your care.

A required provider

The nature of your injury might be specific enough that no doctor on the employer-provided panel can treat you. Instead, you need the help of a specialist. If so, the workers’ comp system will cover your care.

According to state law, your employer must make you aware of these choices. Knowledge of the law and your situation can go a long way to securing your rights. To learn more about how you can receive help after a work injury, contact YOUR Workers’ Compensation Specialist for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 610-892-9300 or reach us online.