Credentials of IRE Physician Successfully Challenged: PA Commonwealth Court Rules that IRE Doctors Must be Active in Clinical Practice

From the Desk of Adam K. Levin, Esq. (certified as a specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court).

Verizon Pennsylvania v. WCAB (Ketterer), 1188 C.D. 2013 (Pa. Commw. March 12, 2014)

In this case, the Employer filed a Modification Petition seeking to change Employee’s status from total disability to partial disability based on an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) performed by Dr. Elena Antonelli.  At the time of the IRE she performed on an injured worker, Dr. Antonelli did not treat or manage the care of any patients.  However, Section 306(a.2)(1) of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act requires a physician performing IRE’s to be active in  clinical practice for at least 20 hours per week.

In the Ketterer case, Dr. Antonelli’s medical practice consisted solely of workers’ compensation independent medical examinations, workers’ compensation IRE’s, physical examinations for pilots, commercial driver’s license examinations, utilization reviews and peer reviews.  Accordingly, the Commonwealth Court determined that the examination performed by Dr. Antonelli for IRE purposes did not satisfy the requirements of the PA Work Comp Act and further determined that her IRE of the injured worker was invalid and that the Modification Petition was properly denied by the Workers’ Compensation Judge.

At Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., we handle cases on behalf of injured workers who are entitled to work comp benefits.  A skilled attorney for work comp and personal injury at our firm can assist you with these types of matters.

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