Workers’ compensation: Choosing a doctor

Like many people in Pennsylvania, you work at a place that provides workers’ compensation coverage. If you get hurt or sick because of your activities at work, your employer should have already provided a list of health care providers for you to choose from to seek treatment. Under state law, your employer should follow certain guidelines in making this list. 

If your employer does not create the list as the law requires, you may select any provider you want to treat your illness or injury. The state of Pennsylvania describes what you should look for in a physicians list provided by your employer. 

Accessibility and contact information

Your employer should provide a written notice to you describing your rights and duties. You should sign this notice when you first receive it upon your hiring, if the employer changes the physicians list, and if you sustain an injury. The list should also consist of no less than six providers. The law mandates that three of these providers are physicians. 

This list should give you the name, address, and telephone number of each provider. The employer cannot tell you which provider you should choose. The decision to pick a provider is up to you. You may also switch from one provider on the list to another if you desire. 

Doctors with specialties

Your employer cannot put just any provider on the list. The specialties of the providers should match the kinds of injuries likely to happen in your workplace. If your workplace handles corrosive chemicals, your employer should list someone who understands burn injuries or other health issues associated with dangerous chemicals. 

You should not have to travel far to reach one of these providers for treatment, so the providers the employer put on the list should be geographically accessible. In the event none of the listed providers specialize in the field that handles your injury, the law permits you to seek your own doctor, provided you need a doctor in a certain specialty to treat you.