UNDER THE PENNSYLVANIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT, CAN I SEE A CHIROPRACTOR WHEN I GET INJURED AT WORK?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured employee has a right to medical treatment. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act requires that the employer have a list of six medical providers or “health care providers.” Under section 109 of the Act, “health care provider” has been defined as follows:
Health care provider means any person, corporation, facility or institution licensed or otherwise authorized by the Commonwealth to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, any physician, coordinated care organization, hospital, health care facility, dentist, nurse, optometrist, podiatrist, physical therapist, psychologist, chiropractor or pharmacist and an officer, employee or agent of such person acting in the course and scope of employment or agency related to health care services.
The Act does not specifically state that chiropractors are required to be included on the panel list; however in the case of Martin v. WCAB (Emmaus Bakery), 652 A.2d 1301 (Pa. 1995), the Court found that if a Chiropractor is not on the list, the employer will be liable for the care and treatment so long as the care is reasonable, necessary and related to the work injury. In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court relied heavily on the “remedial nature of the Act” to prevent an absurd outcome. They used the example that if a dentist was not on the list, the injured worker would have to wait 14 days (now 90 days) until the treatment obligation time had expired to get treatment or pay for the treatment themselves. Neither outcome, according to the court was reasonable.
If you are seeing a chiropractor as a result of your work related injury and are having a difficult time getting your bills paid, you may want to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorney to discuss your options.