GOVERNOR WOLF VETOES SENATE BILL 936
In a previous article we discussed Senate Bill 936 and its potential impact on Pennsylvania injured workers. This bill deals with access to medical treatment by allowing a “formulary” or in other words a state approved list of medications. Under this bill, only medications on an approved list would be covered by the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier even if it was determined to be reasonable and necessary by your medical provider. Senate Bill 936 was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in October, however, on April 27, 2018 the Governor announced that he would veto the bill. In vetoing the bill, Governor Wolf recognized that it was so broad that it would hurt injured Pennsylvania workers, while doing nothing to combat the State’s opioid crisis. Governor Wolf did take executive action to address the opioid crisis, however, by directing the Department Labor & Industry to propose regulations for opioid and non-opioid compound prescriptions that require them to be billed at the ingredient level. The Governor believes that regulating the price of opioid compounds will result in cost savings for Pennsylvania. It should be noted that under the current Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system, the Utilization Review process allows the Insurance Companies to challenge both medical treatment and medications while simultaneously allowing the injured worker to present facts to a Judge that the treatments in question are reasonable and necessary.
If you are currently receiving Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits and are concerned about how the Governor’s actions will impact your benefits, you should speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorney.