The relationship between you and your doctor is important, particularly when you’re injured and that injury affects your ability to work. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania gives employers the right to pick their injured workers’ treating physicians — at least, for a while.
Under the law, your employer must provide you with written information regarding your rights under workers’ comp. The notice must also include the names and contact information of at least six medical providers, three of which must be physicians, that you can use for treatment following a workplace injury. For the first 90 days following your accident, you are required to use one of those listed doctors.
There are a few exceptions, however. If you require a referral to a type of specialist that isn’t on the list, then you have the right to pick your own doctor. In addition, if a doctor tells you that surgery is necessary, you always have the right to choose your own doctor — even during that first 90-day period.
During that 90-day period, you are also entitled to switch from one provider on the list to another at will. Your employer cannot, therefore, force you to see the specific doctor of their choosing. After that 90-day period, you can switch to a physician of your choosing (so long as you go through the proper notification process).
It’s important to remember that workers’ compensation will only cover your medical treatment if you follow the rules — but that doesn’t mean you have to let an employer take advantage of you. If you feel that you’re being denied the appropriate treatment for your condition, it may be time to speak to an attorney.