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HENRY CREWS v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (B & W TUBULAR PRODUCTS GROUP) (02/24/89)

decided: February 24, 1989.

HENRY CREWS, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (B & W TUBULAR PRODUCTS GROUP), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Henry Crews v. B & W Tubular Products Group, No. A-92986.

COUNSEL

Joseph E. Fieschko, Jr., for petitioner.

James R. Schmitt, Will, Keisling, Ganassi & McCloskey, for respondent.

Judges Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Smith

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 610]

Henry Crews (Claimant) appeals from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming the referee's decision to grant the suspension

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 611]

    petition filed by Babcock & Wilcox Tubular Products Group (Employer). The Board is affirmed.

Claimant contends on appeal that his decision to continue with physical therapy at the YMCA as prescribed by his physician, Dr. Cozza, rather than at the PROS-Keystone Rehabilitation Program facility (Keystone) as recommended by Employer's physician, Dr. Tetalman, does not constitute a refusal of reasonable medical treatment under Section 306(f) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1

On July 15, 1984, Claimant sustained a work-related injury to the right lower back. A notice of compensation payable was filed on July 16, 1984 and Claimant began receiving $320.00 per week compensation. Claimant initially sought treatment from the plant physician, then visited a chiropractor and later a neurosurgeon who recommended that Claimant visit Dr. Cozza. Dr. Cozza diagnosed Claimant as suffering from piroformis of the right muscle in his lower back and prescribed an exercise plan. Pursuant to Dr. Cozza's instructions, Claimant began undergoing physical therapy at the YMCA in New Castle.

On January 27, 1986, Employer filed a petition for termination, modification or suspension of benefits alleging that Claimant had refused treatment at Keystone. On January 12, 1987, the referee entered an order granting Employer's suspension petition effective November 27, 1985, the date Claimant refused to be treated at Keystone. The Board affirmed. Claimant thereafter petitioned this Court for review.*fn2

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 612]

Claimant argues that his decision to continue the treatment prescribed by Dr. Cozza did not constitute a refusal of reasonable medical treatment and that the referee's finding to the contrary is not supported by substantial evidence. Section 306(f) of the Act requires that if an employee should refuse reasonable medical services offered by Employer, the employee shall forfeit all rights to compensation. In support of his position, Claimant posits that he was satisfied with the treatment that he received from Dr. Cozza and decided not to participate in the therapy program at ...


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