Injured Workers Entitled to Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act

Medical Marijuana Can Be an Effective Treatment for Injured Workers in Pennsylvania

Medically-prescribed medical marijuana is an effective way to relieve pain. Thanks to two recent decisions by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, workers’ compensation insurers must pay for the treatment. This decision makes sense. After all, injured workers often experience a lot of pain because of their injuries. In addition, most workers want to avoid taking opioids, which can be addictive and even life-threatening.

In the cases, Commonwealth Court ruled that because medical marijuana is a legal form of treatment, doctors may prescribe it for injured workers. Because the Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed that medical marijuana was reasonable and necessary treatment for a work-related injury, the Court ordered the employee’s insurers to reimburse them for their out-of-pocket expenses. Bravo to the Court for allowing injured workers to receive care that has been legal in Pennsylvania for many years.

Court Agrees that Injured Workers Are Entitled to Receive Medical Marijuana Under the Pa. Workers’ Compensation Act

In 2016, Pennsylvania adopted the Medical Marijuana Act, which permits physicians to prescribe marijuana for certain medical conditions. Many workers’ compensation insurance companies refused to pay for the prescribed medical marijuana. In response, Commonwealth Court ruled that (1) the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act does not prohibit insurers from providing coverage for medical marijuana, and (2) the Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to reimburse claimants for out-of-pocket costs for medical marijuana where it is causally related to the work injury. This meant that the Claimant, who suffered years of chronic low back and leg pain and had weaned himself off of opioids by using medical marijuana, could be reimbursed. The Commonwealth Court also rejected the employers’ arguments that requiring them to reimburse the medical marijuana costs meant they would be violating federal law because marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug.

Our office has regularly fought for injured workers, accident victims, and others to get them the wage loss and medical benefits they deserve. We also represent many doctors, pharmacies, and other medical providers, helping them get paid for the important and necessary care they provide to our clients and other injured workers. Please call our office at 610-446-3457, send an email to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, or fill out the form below. We will explain the process, guide you and fight to get the recovery you deserve.