The law firm of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates was started by an attorney with a mission: to help injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits and to defend injured workers against insurance companies that would attempt to terminate, suspend, or modify their lost wage benefits. This mission came about through Attorney O’Connor’s first-hand experience, as he grew up watching the struggles of his working class father and learned the story of his great grandfather, who was killed in a mining accident.
So we were surprised to hear about the proposed legislation being introduced as House Bill 1636, that would require injured workers to seek treatment through their employer’s network of doctors for the entire length of treatment. Currently, an injured employee must seek treatment through their employer’s network of doctors only for the first 90 days. Then the employee can switch to their own choice of doctor for the remainder of their claim, allowing workers a choice in who they feel should treat their injury.
Supporters of this bill say the advantages are to control medical costs, lower costs for individual claims, and lower costs associated with the state’s workers’ compensation system. Opponents of the bill say this will be a major change to Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation law and would not be to the advantage of the injured worker.
So we’re asking for your help. Please contact your State Representative and/or State Senator and ask them to oppose an employer managed care option under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.