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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Growing Industrial Accident Complex

Who is to blame for the rapidly developing problems/changes with workers' compensation programs? These issues are generating reforms that are transforming the work related social insurance remedial system into a completely different benefit program.
Today's post is authored by David DePaolo and shared from

I was talking to a physician friend of mine yesterday.

I know - the first thing in your mind is that you didn't know I had any friends and second question is why, assuming I did have friends, a smart guy like a doctor would talk to me.

Those are beside the point - the crux of the conversation centered on his clinical observation over the past 30 plus years of practicing orthopedic medicine in both forensic (including work comp and auto) and non-forensic settings is that the forensic medical complex routinely produces worse outcomes than the non-forensic setting.

My friend has done principally defense oriented forensic work, but is also widely used as an independent medical examiner and agreed medical examiner - he was speaking from a purely interested scientist's perspective.

He relayed a couple of clinical stories - stories that I think are all too common.

The basic theme is that Patient (I'll use that instead of injured worker, because I'm trying to relay this from the physician's view), a 60 year old female worker, complains of pain, tingling and numbness in her hands.

She makes a workers' compensation claim because she BELIEVES that her work has something to do with it (and yes, there are co-morbidities and other factors).

The insurance company denies the claim. She lawyers up, they fight over causation, insurance company loses that battle.

That process takes about four years.

This is after nearly every doctor that Patient sees, whether on "her side" or for the defense, opine that there likely is SOME industrial component.