Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Raymond Dotterer v. GAF Corporation, No. A-69742.
Robert H. Holland, with him Kolb, Holland, Antonelli & Heffner, for appellant.
Raymond Dotterer, appellee, for himself.
James N. Diefenderfer, for appellee, Board.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 621]
On August 29, 1974, Raymond Dotterer (claimant) was injured while in the normal course of his employment. As a result of this injury, he solicited medical attention from a physician who was not among those designated for that purpose by claimant's employer, GAF
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 622]
Corporation (appellant). Claimant sought to have appellant provide payment for the medical services rendered, but appellant refused, citing the claimant's failure to consult one of the designated physicians. At a hearing held on the matter, the referee awarded payment to claimant, and the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed per curiam. We must reverse.
The sole issue presented for our consideration is whether the referee erred as a matter of law in interpreting Section 306(f) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended by Section 12 of the Act of March 29, 1972, P.L. 159, 77 P.S. § 531. That section reads in pertinent part:
"The employer shall provide payment for reasonable surgical and medical services, services rendered by duly licensed practitioners of the healing arts, medicines, and supplies, as and when needed: Provided, That the employe may select a duly licensed practitioner of the healing arts of his own choice, unless at least five physicians shall have been designated by the employer or by the employer and the employe's representative by agreement, in which instances the employe shall select a physician from among those designated." (Emphasis added.)
In his discussion of the case, the referee interpreted this portion of the statute as follows:
"The employer may post five (5) physicians on its own initiative, or the employer and the collective bargaining agent for the employes may propose five (5) physicians, but in both instances the finally designated physicians must have been approved by the employe's representative or else an individual employe may select a physician of his own choice. As a practical matter, if the statutory reference was ...