Prompt Written Notice

In Secco, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Work), 886 A.2d 1160 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005), the Court explained that "the purpose of [Section 306(b)(3),] 77 P.S. 512(3) is to share new medical information about a claimant's physical capacity to work and the possible impact on existing benefits." Id. at 1162-1163. This is so a claimant will be "put on notice that there was a physical change in his condition which obligated Claimant to look for available work." Id. at 1163. In Secco, we determined that a Notice of Ability to Return to Work that was mailed after a job offer letter was sent and one day before the deadline for the claimant to accept the position was insufficient, i.e., not prompt. Secco is instructive on resolving the question of what constitutes "prompt written notice." The purpose of this statutory requirement is to provide notice to a claimant that there is medical evidence that the claimant can perform some work; that benefits could be affected; and that the claimant has an obligation to look for work. A claimant must have notice that her benefits could be affected before the employer attempts to modify benefits. Otherwise, a modification petition would be a claimant's first notice that a doctor has found the claimant capable of work. "Prompt written notice" requires an employer to give a claimant notice of the medical evidence it has received a reasonable time after its receipt lest the report itself becomes stale. It also requires an employer to give notice to the claimant a reasonable time before the employer acts upon the information. This necessarily requires an examination of the facts and timeline in each case to determine if the claimant has been prejudiced by the timing of the notice.