Bethlehem Workers Compensation Lawyer Opposes Proposed Changes
BETHLEHEM, PA (February 2, 2018) – A pending proposal in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives would radically change the state’s workers’ compensation system and punish injured workers by giving unprecedented control to insurance companies, according to Bethlehem workers’ compensation attorney Anthony R. Vellner.
“For more than a century, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken care of injured workers when they need the help the most,” Vellner said. “This proposed change would shatter that system and leave injured workers exposed to the whims of insurance companies determined to save every last penny.”
This past October, the Pennsylvania Senate voted in favor of S.B. 936, which is now pending before the state House of Representatives.
If approved by the house and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, S.B. 936 would limit injured workers’ access to prescription drugs, according to an article in June in the Allentown Morning Call. According to Vellner, this proposed change would significantly weaken Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system. Specifically, S.B. 936 would require the state Department of Labor to create a drug formulary to provide input for work-related injuries.
Under the state proposal, a formulary would be created which specifically states which drugs and dosage amounts, could be prescribed to injured workers. The state proposal would also create an insurance-funded Utilization Review Organization (URO) comprised mainly of insurance company representatives who would have veto power over medical treatments.
“The insurers would control the doctors and what they may prescribe,” wrote Frank Synder, Secretary-Treasurer of the PA AFL-CIO in an editorial published Dec. 6 by Pennlive.com.
Vellner agreed. “This proposal has nothing to do with improving medical care for injured workers,” he said. “This is simply a blatant power grab by insurance companies to boost profits.” As a result, he urged residents to contact their state Representative and tell them to vote ‘no’ on S.B. 936. “Pennsylvania has a long tradition of protecting injured workers,” Vellner said. “Let’s keep things that way.”