Don’t Sign Blank Medical Authorizations

By: James R. Burn, Jr.

In Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, once your claim has been accepted by the insurance company, the defendant’s insurance company is entitled to have you examined two times per year. These exams are called Independent Medical Evaluations.

Occasionally, the workers’ compensation claims adjuster will send medical authorizations to you at your home. They want to check on your medical status. Be wary of these authorizations. Blank authorizations, if signed, allow insurance companies to go after any medical record for any reason even for items that are not connected to your work-related injury.

Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to get out from underneath their workers’ compensation obligations. If you are treating for an ailment or an issue that is non-work related, the defendant’s insurance carrier could try to pin your disability on one of those non-work-related issues in an effort to get out of their obligations to pay your workers’ compensation benefits.

Records in the hands of an insurance company adjuster that are irrelevant to your workers’ compensation claim could be sent to an independent evaluator in conjunction with an exam potentially causing a misinterpretation of those records to occur. In other words, an independent evaluator could attribute your disability to non-work related issues by a misinterpreting or misunderstanding those records.

Never sign blank medical authorizations. Medical authorizations should always be specifically listed for a provider that is treating you for your work-related injury and time limitations should be on those authorizations. We at Abes Baumann are always available to answer any questions about medical authorizations and the “do’s and don’ts” associated with them.

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