Pennsylvania legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons in 2016. However, the rules related to legal marijuana and workers’ comp benefits are still not very clear.
Treatment Categories are Open to Interpretation
PA’s Medical Marijuana Act specifies the medical conditions for which marijuana can be used as a treatment. These include some types of spinal cord injuries, neuropathies, PTSD, and chronic pain conditions where traditional therapy does not work.
Where things get complicated is that several of these diagnosis categories are subject to interpretation. Without professional medical knowledge or skilled legal representation, injured workers in PA could be denied their rightful medical treatment.
Many workers in Pennsylvania are facing this situation where they require medical marijuana treatment for their workplace injury, but they do not have any legal advice about their rights and which treatments could be covered under workers’ compensation.
Injured workers in PA should be able to make informed choices about legally obtaining medical cannabis and receive their rightful workers’ comp claim.
Workers’ Comp in PA Covers Medical Marijuana
While it is clearly indicated in the Medical Marijuana Act of Pennsylvania that it is not mandatory for insurance providers to cover legal marijuana as a medical treatment, it is not expressly stated that there could be ways to obtain coverage for medical marijuana from workers’ comp claims.
For instance, an injured worker can go ahead and apply to have their medical expenses for marijuana treatment reimbursed after an on-the-job injury. The workers’ comp law in PA makes it clear that every type of reasonable and necessary treatment for workplace injuries is covered under workers’ comp benefits.
According to the law, at least in theory, if a doctor recommends the use of legal marijuana to treat a work-related injury, it should be reimbursed under the Act.
Legal marijuana could also result in lower costs of coverage for insurance companies too. It might also have lesser addictive properties (compared to opioid based treatments), while having greater efficacy.
As a result, some insurance providers might show a preference for offering legal marijuana coverage in place of other more expensive drug therapies.
More Clarity Needed
In the present scenario, the laws related to legal marijuana and the possibility of using it as a treatment for work-related injuries in PA are still not very clear. This area of law is still relatively nascent, and in due course of time, the courts will offer more clarity on the legal nuances.
Until that happens, injured workers in PA should increase their awareness, ask the right questions, and seek legal guidance when they suffer a serious injury at the workplace.
Get in Touch with a Competent Workers’ Comp Attorney in PA
An experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that an injured worker is not denied the right to best possible medical treatment, which could put them on a safer and faster road to recovery.
Injured workers in PA should get in touch with a solid and established law firm specializing in workers’ compensation cases to ensure that their legal rights are fully protected.