When can I see my own doctor for a work-related injury?

Pennsylvania’s workers are entitled to weekly wages and related health-related, medical, and surgical expenses for a work-related injury or occupational illness. But, in many cases, injured workers cannot seek treatment from their own health care practitioner. Employers may require injury treatment from its list of designated health care providers if they comply with workers’ compensation regulations.

Physician list requirements

Employers must comply with certain rules governing the list:

  • Employers must give an employee a clear written notice of the employee’s rights and duties.
  • Workers have to sign this notice when they are hired, changes are made, and they are injured.
  • The list needs to contain at least six health providers and three of the practitioners must be physicians. Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law, a provider can be another health-care care practitioner besides a physician.
  • The list should have each provider’s name, address, telephone number and specialty.
  • Providers on the list must be geographically accessible.

Worker rights

Even though employers may designate health care providers, employees also have certain rights:

  • Employers cannot direct a worker to a specific provider on the list.
  • Employees may switch providers that are on the list.
  • A worker can select their own provider who is not on the list if specialty care is reasonable and necessary for treatment of the work injury and a listed provider does not engage in that specialty.
  • If the list does not comply with Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law and regulations, a worker may receive treatment from a provider they choose who is not on the list.
  • The listed providers must contain specialties that are appropriate for the employee’s anticipated work-related medical problems.

Injured workers may lose important rights and benefits if they do not comply with Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation requirements. An attorney can help them file their claims and seek their entitled benefits.