Workers’ Comp In-Cites
Welcome to the latest edition of Schaff & Young's Workers' Comp In-Cites. Designed to provide our clients with practical insight, Workers' Comp In-Cites outlines recent developments in Pennsylvania workers' compensation law and explains how those decisions impact our clients and their cases. Barbara Young, Michael Schaff and the other attorneys at Schaff & Young, P.C. are always available to discuss these cases – or any other questions or concerns you might have. Just give us a call at (215) 988-0090 or send an email to info@schaffyoung.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


Pennsylvania Supreme Court agrees to hear the case that invalidated Impairment Rating Evaluations performed under the 6th Edition of the AMA Guides

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will rule on the following issues in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District).

1. Whether the Commonwealth Court – after properly determining that Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act was unconstitutional - erred in remanding the case to the Workers’ Compensation Judge with instructions to apply the Fourth Edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment when neither Section 306(a.2) nor any other section of the Act ever references the Fourth Edition and its usage was not sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Legislature.

2. Does Section 306(a.2) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act unconstitutionally delegate the State Legislature’s lawmaking authority in violation of Article II, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution by incorporating the most recent edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment?


May 2016 Edition
Volume X
Number 3
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When determining whether a worker is an independent contractor, control over the work to be completed and the manner in which it is performed are critical factors

In Edwards v. WCAB (Epicure Home Care, Inc.), the Commonwealth Court concluded that, although no single factor is dispositive when determining whether a claimant is an employee or an independent contractor, control over the work to be completed and the manner in which it is to be performed are the primary factors used to determine an employee’s status.


A Compromise & Release Agreement that does not admit liability is valid, and bars a claim for unpaid medical bills by a provider

A Compromise & Release Agreement, which does not admit liability and specifically states that the employer is not required to pay any past or future medical expenses, is valid, and an unpaid medical provider has no recourse against the employer. That’s the Commonwealth Court’s ruling in Schatzberg v. WCAB (Bemis Company, Inc.).


No Need to Amend Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable Before Denying Claim

The Commonwealth Court held in Church v. WCAB (Cook), that an employer seeking to amend a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable under 34 Pa. Code § 121.17 may file an Amended Notice, and is not required to issue a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation before issuing the amended document.


Reinstatement After a Challenge Petition is Filed

A Workers’ Compensation Judge must hold a special supersedeas hearing within 21 days of an employee’s filing a Challenge to a Notice of Modification under Section 413(c)(1) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 774.2(1), according to the Commonwealth Court in Dixon v. WCAB (Medrad Inc.). The Court explained that if the WCJ does not hold a hearing within 21 days, or fails to issue a written order approving suspension/modification of benefits within 14 days of the hearing, an insurer must reinstate claimant’s benefits under 34 Pa. Code § 131.50a.


Medical Bills – What is the Usual & Customary Fee?

In Geisinger Health System v. BWC Fee Review Hearing Office (SWIF), the Commonwealth Court ruled that under Section 306(f.1)(10) of the Act, acute care provided in a trauma or burn center to an injured worker with life threatening or urgent injuries is reimbursable at the “usual and customary charge.” Because this section does not define a “usual and customary charge,” the Court applied the definition in Section 109 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 109, i.e., “the charge most often made by providers of similar training, experience and licensure for a specific treatment, accommodation, product or service in the geographic area where the treatment, accommodation, product or service is provided,” and declined to compensate the provider for the actual amount billed to the carrier.


Injury Leaving Work Is Not in the Course & Scope of Employment

An injury is not within the course and scope of employment when a worker is leaving his place of employment for a non-work-related reason and while running, feels a pop in the knee and excruciating pain. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Quality Bicycle Products, Inc. v. WCAB (Shaw).