In a video report on New York TV station WNBC-TV, an injured worker was referred to a list of ophthalmologists in Brooklyn by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), and all doctors on the list refused to accept workers’ compensation, even though the state’s online database said they did.
The reporter, Chris Glorioso, contacted every doctor on the list and was told the same thing that the injured worker, George Akturk, was told, and even one doctor told Glorioso that they used to accept workers’ comp twenty years ago.
According to the report, the results showed that the state’s list of authorized practitioners was severely outdated.
Although each doctor was listed as a workers’ comp participant, Glorioso discovered, two-thirds of the offices reported they do not participate in the program.
He also found that thirteen doctors’ offices reported they do accept workers’ comp, but most of them do not perform the kind of retinal surgery prescribed for Akturk.
Dr Michael Lax, director of the SUNY Upstate Occupational Health Clinic, said the real reason doctors are dropping out of the system is that insurance companies and state regulators increasingly control medical decisions.
In 2010, New York adopted medical treatment guidelines that restrict the medical discretion of specialists.
This is another example of how so-called workers’ comp ‘reforms’ are directed not towards improving the lives of the injured workers, but to save money for the carriers, and that regulators are more interested in restricting medical care than treating the injured worker and getting them back to work faster.
Here is the link to the report and accompanying video: