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Pennsylvania House Looks at Bill to Improve Workers’ Compensation Process

May 30, 2016 General

The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a bill that would revise the guidelines for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, and would, according to proponents, benefit both sides in a workers’ compensation dispute.

House Bill 1800 would bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states across the country, requiring that decisions in workers’ compensation disputes be based on nationally-recognized, evidence-based guidelines. Under current Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, an injured worker is entitled to compensation for “reasonable and necessary” medical care, and as a practical matter, companies seldom challenge what medical professionals consider to be “reasonable and necessary.”

However, when there is disagreement regarding the best treatment for a worker’s injury, the existing guidelines provide little direction, often leading to expensive and time-consuming litigation. Proponents of the new law say that it would streamline dispute resolution and, contrary to the assertions of critics, still allow for flexibility from case to case. Proponents also argue that the proposed changes would better facilitate an injured worker’s return to health.

Opponents of the bill, however, have labeled it a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” They argue that such measures would almost exclusively benefit insurance companies and employers by associating specific types of treatment with specific types of injuries, and that the guidelines would allow little to no room for the unique aspects of every injury. They contend that the full extent of an injury is personal and cannot be measured with a statistical approach.

Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, LLP

At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, LLP, we have fought for the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.

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