Oppose "Evidence-Based Medicine" for Injured Workers
December 31st, 2016 | Donald C. Ligorio
By Donald C. Ligorio, Esq.
Injured workers in Pennsylvania face many challenges, including reduced wages, loss of benefits, pain, suffering and inconvenience. A proposed requirement that all treatment for work-related injuries comply with government-imposed standards adds insult to injury. A bill pending in the state Legislature, House Bill 1800, is the latest “reform” being pushed by corporate and insurance special interests. It seeks to create a bureaucratic panel to establish treatment guidelines based on so-called “evidence-based medicine” standards. Although this may sound innocuous, it would take treatment decisions away from treating physicians and put those decisions into the hands of a government-appointed bureaucratic panel. Injured workers would likely have little or no input into the makeup of the panel, which would have little or no accountability to the injured worker or health-care provider.
Under current law, employers can already limit treatment for 90 days by establishing a panel of required providers, and suspend payment for treatment by requesting a Utilization Review. H.B. 1800 would create more limitations, requiring the health-care provider to comply with guidelines, which will undoubtedly further limit the type and duration of treatment. Rather than being allowed to provide a course of treatment that best suits the injured worker, health-care providers will be bound by a one-size-fits-all laundry list created by bureaucrats.
The proposed legislation is also a solution in search of a problem. As is typically the case, insurance and business interests maintain that the legislation is necessary to reduce costs. In reality, workers’ compensation insurance premiums have decreased in each of the last four years. The true purpose of this legislation is to increase insurance profits at the expense of injured workers. Creating a government panel to further limit an injured worker’s treatment options is fundamentally unfair and contrary to the longstanding tradition of allowing health-care providers to formulate a treatment plan that best addresses their patient’s needs.
Please contact your state Representative today and ask him or her to oppose House Bill 1800. You can look up your legislator at www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator.
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