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New legislation could affect Pennsylvania workers' compensation

No one can predict when a workplace accident will occur. Even when every safety precaution is taken, Pennsylvania workers may still be involved in a work-related accident that causes them serious injury, putting them temporarily out of work. Workers' compensation provides necessary financial support and medical care during the recovery period, but some are worried that legislative changes could compromise these benefits.

If hurt while carrying out the course of their work duties, Pennsylvania workers are typically barred from suing their employers, but they can be assured of workers' comp. These benefits ensure that victims receive a portion of the wages they miss while out of work and that necessary medical treatment is available through either a company doctor or elsewhere. In this system, victims are supposed to be able to get necessary care without involving others.

New legislation aims to change how victims can receive treatment. This proposed legislation would prevent doctors treating injured workers from prescribing them medication not otherwise found on a list of preapproved drugs. This list would be controlled by the insurance company. While proponents of the bill claim that it will help fight the increasingly troublesome opioid epidemic, others insist that it's a cost-cutting measure intended to pad the bottom line of insurance companies.

Many are understandably concerned about the impact that this could have on injured workers in Pennsylvania. However, proposed legislation will not necessarily become law. It is possible that current workers' compensation benefits will remain unchanged, and continue to provide the same necessary treatment and compensation for workers who hurt while on the job.

Source: pennlive.com, "This workers compensation reform doesn't help workers at all", Frank Snyder, Dec. 6, 2017

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