Just happened to come across the following blog post here on WordPress from a workers’ comp lawyer.
The lawyer, Karl Voigt, answered a question on another website about being reimbursed for travel expenses in the state of Pennsylvania.
His response is worth considering for the implementation of medical tourism into workers’ comp, for all other states, besides Pennsylvania.
“There is a compelling argument that the carrier should reimburse your costs. Until about 1992, workers’ compensation carriers would regularly have to reimburse Pennsylvania claimants for all travel expenses incurred treating their work injury. Unfortunately, following the issuance of an appellate case, Helen Mining Co. V. WCAB, 616 A.2d 759, the law changed. The courts can now only award travel expenses in cases where the requisite medical treatment is not available in your locale. If you can indeed prove that it was absolutely necessary to travel out-of-state for treatment, there is a good chance that your expenses should be reimbursed.”
If an employee, or his employer believes that it is necessary for the employee to get their surgery out of state, i.e., in another state or even another country, it may be argued that the work comp carrier would have to pay for it.
Yet, if the carrier went along with it in the first place, there would be no need to request reimbursement, as the surgery and travel expenses would be paid for. If the employer and the carrier determine that they can save money by having claimants go out of the country for medical care, then there would be no need for the courts to award travel expenses in the first place, thus freeing the claimant from the grip of the medical-legal system that workers’ comp law has created.