Seeking Medical Treatment for a Work Injury at a Luzerne County Distribution Center

Steps to Take After You're Injured on the Job
Date: January 23, 2022

Seeking Medical Treatment After a Work Injury in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

Question: I work at a Distribution Center in Luzerne County. I was injured while lifting a heavy box with a co-worker. My co-worker lost his grip on the box which caused the weight to shift and I felt immediate pain in my back and right shoulder. I told my supervisor and we filled out some paperwork. My brother hurt his shoulder last year and he was very pleased with the doctor who treated him. I asked my supervisor if I could see the doctor who treated my brother and my supervisor told me that I needed to see “the company doctor”. Is that true?

Answer: The PA Workers’ Compensation Act gives employers the right to establish a list of designated health care providers. When the list is properly posted, injured workers must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit. There are some specific guidelines provided in the rules and regulations for these lists:

-The employer must provide a clearly written notice to employee of the employee’s rights and duties regarding medical care and treatment.

-The notice must be signed by the employee at the time of hire, whenever changes are made in the list and at the time of injury.

-The list must contain at least six providers; three of the six providers must be physicians.

-Each provider’s name, address, telephone number and specialty must be included on the list.

-If a particular specialty is not on the list and the specialty care is reasonable and necessary for treatment of the work injury, the employee will be allowed to treat with a health care provider of his or her choosing.

-The employer may not direct the employee to any specific provider on the list.

-The employee may switch from one designated provider to another designated provider.

-Providers on the list must be geographically accessible.

-Listed providers must contain specialties appropriate for the anticipated work-related medical problems of the employee.

-If an employer’s list of designated providers fails to comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act and the Bureau regulations, the employee has the right to treat with a provider of his or her choice.

Steps to Take After You’re Injured on the Job

If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.