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Proponents Hope to Pass PA Workers’ Comp Reform Bill in 2013

Lawmakers are trying again to pass changes to a Pennsylvania state workers’ comp law that would double the required time injured workers must use an employer-approved doctor.

Those behind the House Bill 808 say the change will reduce fraud and save companies on benefits payouts. But according to an article on CentralPennBusiness.com, unions and legistislative Democrats oppose the bill, and have been doing so since 2003-2004.

The bill would change the time that injured workers must use employer-selected medical experts for treatment from 90 days to 180 days, known as the “captive period”. It would have injured workers continue treatments that show progress, instead of allowing them to leave and use their own doctors after 90 days. Proponents say that expanding the captive period would reduce lost productivity and prevent the misuse of workers’ comp by finding doctors who unnecessarily keep an employee on benefits, which increases medical costs.

Those who oppose the bill suggest that a longer captive period limits the injured worker’s choice in doctors. If an injured worker can’t get a second opinion, problems could arise and worsen from misdiagonsis.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this legislation, especially as it could affect our current workers’ comp clients.