Oppose Workers’ Compensation Reform in PA House Bill 1800

Employees injured on the job face many challenges, including the tremendous burden on their family and the need to recover from their injuries. They should not be saddled with another hurdle – the so-called evidence-based treatment guidelines that could be imposed by the workers’ compensation system.

In November, Representative Ryan Mackenzie introduced House Bill 1800 into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The proposal would require doctors to provide treatment to patients in the workers’ compensation system according to evidence-based medical guidelines rather than their own best judgment.

Evidence-based medicine is a misnomer. Medical treatment for a condition should not be a one-size fits all approach. And physicians should not be forced to follow one course of guidelines for employees injured on the job when they will follow their own judgment for a person with the same injury being treated outside the workers’ comp system. No two patients are alike – and it should not be harder to get the best treatment available based on your specific circumstances depending on where you were injured.

The legislation follows the lead of California and New York, which adopted similar bills in 2004 and 2007, respectively. But it is not right for Pennsylvania. Both states faced rapidly escalating premiums due to rising medical costs.

The cost of workers compensation is not out of control in Pennsylvania. Employers will see a decrease in their insurance rates for workers’ compensation starting April 1, 2016, the fifth consecutive year of lower rates for employers. The latest rate reduction will save businesses here $20 million a year while maintaining benefit levels for injured workers, according to the announcement from Governor Tom Wolf.

The legislation is opposed by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. We hope you will oppose it as well.