It sounds like malpractice to me. That’s what I’ve been thinking ever since learning how the injuries sustained by poultry workers are treated (and not treated) at the company nursing stations.
Tom Lynch, of LynchRyan published an excellent piece today about the bumpy ride workers’ comp has had since 1972, when a commission established by Richard Nixon made 19 recommendations for the improvement and uniformity of state workers’ comp standards.
As the Chairman of the Commission, John Burton suggested, “if we continue to advance at this rate, the 19 essential recommendations will be law throughout the land sometime in the 23rd century.”
“Hailing frequencies, open Captain.”
Tom is not the only one who wrote recently about the vested interests holding back progress and change. David De Paolo last week said the same when he wrote,
“Insurance companies are as much a vendor in either scenario as physicians, bill review companies, utilization review companies, attorneys, vocational counselors, etc. Each and every single one makes a buck off work comp, and each and every one has an interest in maintaining the status quo.”
Do we really have to wait until warp engines and transporters carry us off to far distant planets to have meaningful and substantial reform of workers’ comp that benefits the injured worker and minimizes the abuse by vested interests?
Or do we continue to illogically believe that nothing can change, and that new ideas are stupid and ridiculous and a non-starter? Or do we ignore those in the industry who blog about workers’ comp, but are impeding change by denying the credibility of the individuals presenting new ideas, or the ideas themselves?
These 19 recommendations should be looked at again and implemented, along any other ideas, outside of opt-out to bring injured workers better and less expensive medical care. To do otherwise is illogical.
I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.
Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.
I am also looking for a partner who shares my vision of global health care for injured workers.
I am also willing to work with any health care provider, medical tourism facilitator or facility to help you take advantage of a market segment treating workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is going through dramatic changes, and may one day be folded into general health care. Injured workers needing surgery for compensable injuries will need to seek alternatives that provide quality medical care at lower cost to their employers. Caribbean and Latin America region preferred.
Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will accept invitations to speak or attend conferences.
Transforming Workers’ Comp Blog is now viewed all over the world in over 250 countries and political entities. I have published nearly 300 articles, many of them re-published in newsletters and other blogs.
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Continuing the discussion from my previous posts on the Zika virus, “Will Zika Impact Medical Travel to Latin America?” and “Insurers’ Have Zika on Radar“, Gloria Gonzalez, of Business Insurance.com, has written today that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is aiming to publish interim guidelines on protecting workers from occupation exposure to the virus this spring.
OSHA is the US government’s health and safety watchdog responsible for overseeing workplace accidents and safety.
As I mentioned previously in “Insurers’ Have Zika on Radar”, US insurance companies are monitoring the virus and are educating their members, but have not determined what it will cost the payer community.
OSHA’s involvement signals that the Zika virus is not only a concern in general health care, but for workers’ compensation as well.
In a report this evening on CBS News, there was no evidence that mosquitoes in the US are carrying the virus, but health officials expect that in the Southern US, there will be a spreading of the virus to the domestic mosquito population.
So like the CDC, OSHA is taking the spread of the virus seriously. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health, was reported in Gonzalez’ article as saying the following at a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health today in Washington:
“Coming soon to a federal office near you is the Zika virus, and we’re quite concerned about it.”
Mr. Michaels also added that “there’s growing concern across the federal government. We’ve heard from a bunch of agencies about the Zika virus. We’re developing interim guidelines for protecting workers for you all to see, both for your workers who go overseas [workers’ comp and medical travel is a stupid and ridiculous idea, and a non-starter, eh, Mr. Wilson?] , but also we’re seeing the first cases in the United States, and we have to be prepared for that as well.”
Mr. Michaels also said that agency officials are reviewing a preliminary draft and soliciting feedback from other federal agencies, but that they hope to publish the guidance this spring.
He mentioned that similar guidance was published last year in response to the Ebola outbreak, with requirements and recommendations for protecting workers whose work activities are conducted in environments known or reasonably suspected to be contaminated with the virus.
In an alert published by Ben Huggett of the law firm, Littler, Mendelson P.C., back in late January, under the OSHA Act, employees may refuse to work only where there is an objectively “reasonable belief that there is imminent death or serious injury”.
An employee refusing to work without an objective belief may result in disciplinary action, but Huggett advised employers to take extreme care to avoid such adverse actions due to a refusal to work caused by concerns about Zika.
What does this mean for workers’comp?
It represents another exposure for loss should a worker contract he virus and pass it on to a pregnant woman, who then delivers a microcephaly baby. Or, the infected individual could pass it on to a sexual partner, or to a mosquito, if they are bitten, further spreading the disease.
But it also give us an opportunity to explore the feasibility of implementing medical travel into workers’ comp, because most assuredly, they would most likely be treated where they were infected, and not back in the US. Having a worker treated in a local hospital, say in Brazil, that also caters to medical travel, would prove that medical care in Latin America is not dangerous or primitive.
Such views of the world of medicine outside our shores are no longer valid, and given the ability of diseases to spread rapidly around the world, such views are outdated, no longer apply in a globalized world. It is essential that governments at all levels, and the business community as well, remove all barriers and obstacles to providing the best medical care available, no matter where that happens to be.
To do otherwise is foolish.