Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Dean C. Brown v. ACF Industries, AMCAR Division, No. A-82870.
H. William Koch, with him Christopher J. Foust, Koch & Foust, for petitioner.
Mark S. Refowich, Fishbone, Refowich & Scheer, for respondents.
Judges Rogers, Barry and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri.
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 207]
ACF Industries, Inc. -- AMCAR Division (ACF), is before us on an appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's decision directing payment of certain medical expenses incurred by the claimant, Dean C. Brown, as a result of a work related injury. We will affirm.
Claimant suffered a reinjury in the form of a hernia at the site of a previously repaired hernia on January 24, 1980. He brought this to the attention of the employer's medical department where he was examined by the company physician, Dr. Charles Woodcock, a board certified general surgeon. Dr. Woodcock was among a list of seven (7) physicians posted by the employer, apparently in compliance with the "designated physician" provisions of Section 306(f)(1) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 208]
Act,*fn1 77 P.S. § 531(1). Claimant did not avail himself of the services of any of the list of seven physicians, whose names were posted by the employer, but turned to the surgeon who had previously repaired the left side hernia which broke down in the injury on January 4, 1980, to set up a time for surgery. The charges for surgery and other medical services were incurred during the disability period from March 10 to June 11, 1980, for which compensation was duly awarded. The question before this Court is whether or not the employer is obligated to pay for this medical care, since claimant failed to avail himself of the services of any of the "designated physicians."
Section 306(f)(1), as amended in 1978, which is the version applicable here, provides:
(1) 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 if a list of at least five designated physicians or other duly licensed practitioners of the healing arts or a combination thereof is provided by the employer, the employe shall be required to visit one of the physicians or other practitioners so designated and shall continue to visit the same or another physician or practitioner for a period of fourteen days from the date of the first visit. Subsequent treatment may be provided by any physician or any other duly licensed practitioner of the healing arts or a combination thereof, of the employes own choice, and such treatment shall be paid for by the employer. Any employe who next following
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 209]
the termination of the fourteen-day period is provided treatment from a physician or other duly licensed practitioner of the healing arts who is not one of the physicians or practitioners designated by the employer, shall notify the employer within five days of the first visit to said physician or practitioner. However, if the employe fails to so notify the employer, the employe shall ...