What is “medical treatment”? Though most folks know that medical treatment for a work injury is covered under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (Act), even the courts seem confused as to what constitutes “medical treatment.” In some ways, this issue was recently clarified by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
In Schriver v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation), the injured worker suffered an injury to his low back. For relief, the injured worker began treating with a chiropractor. The chiropractor, in turn, referred the injured worker to a massage therapist in his office. When presented with bills for the massage therapy, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier refused payment, denying that “massage therapy” falls under the category of “medical treatment.”
The injured worker filed a Petition for Review of Medical Treatment/Billing, and a Petition for Penalties. After hearing the evidence, the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) granted both Petitions and ordered payment of the massage therapy bills, in addition to penalties.