Currently pending in the General Assembly is a bill designed to strip physicians of their ability to make independent judgments concerning the treatment appropriate for people with work injuries.
House Bill 1800, introduced by Pennsylvania Representative Ryan Mackenzie, is supposed to implement treatment guides that will control costs, reduce the frequency of surgery, and reduce the volume of addictive pharmaceuticals that are administered to workers.
Mackenzie's claim is ridiculous.
The House bill is premised on the idea that a set of specific treatment guidelines can be used in every case despite the nearly endless variations in the nature of work injuries. The decisions on the appropriate level of treatment will be made by politicized panels who are openly hostile to worker's rights. It is, essentially, a massive give-back to employers despite the fact that workers' compensation premiums in Pennsylvania have been declining for years.
In another section of the bill, the right to cut off medical treatment will be handed to insurance company claims representatives.
Under the current system, if an insurance company believes that the treatment is unreasonable and unnecessary, it can file a petition for utilization review, which requires the treatment in question to be reviewed by an independent doctor. Under the proposed revision, an insurance company claims representative will make the initial determination, which means that employees will suffer a cut-off of needed medical care by someone with no knowledge, education or medical training. The burden of disputing this determination falls on the injured worker, who will then have to file an expensive and lengthy appeal, delaying treatment they need to recover, return to work, and take care of their families.
For a copy of Pennsylvania House Bill 1800, click here. Anybody with any questions about this bill should call our firm at 866-772-0700. All are urged to contact their state representative to express their opposition to House Bill 1800. To find out who your representatives are, click here.