PA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
Are you getting ready for the Holidays?
- There has not been much activity on the appellate front in the last few months, and after Protz, that may be a good thing. However, of significance, the Parker case noted in number 3 of our August 2017 Newsletter was argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 17, 2017. This case involved Claimant’s attorney’s obligation to repay unreasonable contest attorney’s fees after an appellate ruling that said fees were not, in fact, due and payable. County of Allegheny v. WCAB (Parker), 151 A.3d 1210 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016). The Court should be issuing an Opinion and Order regarding this issue before the end of the year.
- Protz keeps rolling along. It appears that most of the Workers’ Compensation Judges are applying the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling regarding the unconstitutionality of the Pennsylvania IRE statute only to pending cases at the time of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Opinion and Order issued on June 20, 2017. Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), 161 A.3d 827 (Pa. 2017). Therefore, absent extraordinary circumstances, Petitions to Review to reopen old IRE related claims should be denied. However, this is subject to appeal by Claimants and may be a problem on down the road. Again, we will keep you advised in this regard.
- An Article recently appeared in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer regarding Claimant’s attorneys and doctors setting up companies to provide drugs to Claimants in Workers’ Compensation cases. The Article was published on September 24, 2017 and is entitled “Pharmacy’s Alliance: Ripe for Corruption?” It makes for some interesting reading. Anyone who has a case involving one of these schemes should consider challenging these medication bills if possible under the anti-self-dealing provisions in the Act and Regulations. See 77 P.S. §531(3)(iii) and medical cost containment rules against self-referrals at §127.301 and 302 of the Pennsylvania Code of Regulations. If legislation needs to be passed to prevent this practice, so be it!
HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!