The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is committed to promoting safe and healthy workplaces. In the event of a work-related injury or illness, the PA Chamber supports the payment of reasonable and necessary medical treatment and, when necessary, wage-loss benefits to the injured employee. However, the workers’ compensation law must only provide benefits to eligible employees with legitimate, work-related injuries or illnesses. The PA Chamber opposes any effort that could erode employers’ rights and protections under the Workers’ Compensation law.
The PA Chamber believes that workers’ compensation benefits should provide for effective medical care and partially replace wages lost because of compensable work-place injury or illness. The PA Chamber also opposes any effort that could compromise or weaken the “exclusivity doctrine” of workers’ compensation.
In addition to focusing on improving outcomes for injured workers, public policy related to workers’ compensation should also help address cost-drivers in the system. Employers in Pennsylvania continue to pay workers’ compensation premium rates that, on average, are above the national mean and higher than many other similar states. While the PA Chamber is encouraged that overall statewide system costs are reported to have decreased in recent years, these decreases are due to a decline in workplace injuries; whereas, the average cost of individual claims continues to increase significantly.
The PA Chamber would support amending Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation law to accomplish the following:
- Promote medical cost containment without impeding claimant access to reasonable and necessary care;
- Enhance employers’ direction of care authority, including extending the duration in which an employee receives treatment through a healthcare provider panel, the utilization of which has been demonstrated to lead to better outcomes, greater patient satisfaction and shorter periods out of work;
- Reform the workers’ compensation dispute adjudication process to ensure that evidence is guiding decisions;
- Adopt evidence-based medical treatment guidelines for workers’ compensation based on nationally-recognized standards of care;
- Address prescription drug abuse, overutilization and high costs, such as, by implementing a drug formulary and allowing employers to utilize a prescription benefit manager throughout the duration of a claim; and
- Update the fee schedule for workers’ compensation to ensure that it accurately reflects current procedures and reimbursement rates.