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Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Q and A, part 2

This week's column will be a continuation in the work comp series. As stated last week, numerous Pennsylvania residents may have questions about workers' compensation. A couple of those questions will be addressed below.

Question number one for this week is: Can I pick my doctor? Some employers and insurance providers require that certain medical providers be seen. If one's employer offers a list of approved providers, one must see one on that list for the initial visit and for the first 90 days of treatment. It is okay to seek a second opinion, also from an approved provider. If an injured person's company or insurance provider does not have a list of approved health care providers, it is okay for one to use his or her physician of choice.

Question number two for the week is: What about occupational diseases, how are those covered? Not all work-related injuries are immediately apparent. There are those who are exposed to hazardous materials, but the effects will not be seen for years. If a person's decline in health is believed to be connected to a current or former job, he or she may access workers' comp benefits in order to have the occupational disease treated -- if the claim is filed within a specific time frame.

Who one sees for treatment and gaining access to care are both concerns shared by numerous Pennsylvania residents. Without knowing the ins and outs of the workers' compensation system, it is very possible that one's claims will be denied or not fully covered. With legal assistance, however, it is possible to fight for the right to see a health care provider of choice and to get treatment for occupation diseases.

Source: dli.pa.gov, "About Workers' Compensation: Choice of Health Care Provider", Accessed on Sept. 7, 2017

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