In Part 2 of this series, I will explore the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act’s requirements regarding posting a panel provider list, as well as the importance of selecting and updated that list.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act allows Employers to control medical costs by having a panel of physicians with whom injured employees can be required to treat for the first 90 days following the injury. However, selecting which panel providers to utilize can be a daunting task.
The Act requires that the panel consist of at least six designated health care providers, with at least three physicians and no more than four coordinated care organizations. Furthermore, the injured worker must be given a copy of their rights and responsibilities under the Act, both at the time of hire and the time of injury, which explains the employee’s duty to treat with employer’s panel. For the restaurant industry, the kitchen can be the perfect place to post this panel, as it is frequented by virtually all employees.
Being able to enforce treatment with panel physicians provides Employers with a certain level of control over the initial treatment the injured worker receives. This, in turn, can lead to a quicker return to work and less exposure on the claim. This is particularly true in the restaurant industry, where employers can frequently accommodate work restrictions (more on that to come!).
While the establishment of a panel list seems easy enough, the question of who to include on the list often arises. As injuries vary greatly in both severity and nature, having a broad range of specialties covered on your list increases the likelihood the worker treats with one of your selected providers. Including orthopedic surgeons and physiatrists at well renowned and respected facilities will allow you to obtain an honest opinion regarding the injured worker’s condition and develop a game-plan for a safe return to work. Likewise, utilizing physical therapy locations that specialize in rehabbing injuries and returning employees to the workforce can minimize exposure on the claim.
If you are having difficulty selecting a provider list, your insurance company, TPA, or defense counsel can often recommend specialists they have successfully utilized in the past. If you need any additional insight, please feel free to contact me at 484-468-1231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.