Many so called Vocational Assessors you are referred to by workcover insurance companies, will use nothing more than computer testing for “suitable jobs”! This does not take into effect that many injured patients have a multiple of things the matter with them above their main diagnosis and may be socially and otherwise handicapped. A supreme court case in Canada made it clear handicap or impairment had to include ALL problems. There is no evidence counselling someone on a job possibility makes it happen in disabled cases. Canada Disability pension criteria had to be modified to include not just suitable jobs but AVAILABLE and giving substantive gainful employment – measures ignored by workcover insurance companies who will terminate cases for any excuse. I call this the “you could be a funeral director” scam.
The “I Feel You Could Be a Funeral Director” Scam as identified by workcover vocational assessment
- One of the latest used and most prolific of scams is called Transferable Skills Analysis using National Occupation Classification
- A case manager, or a referred Vocational Assessor, who may never have seem the injured worker, will put into a computer “the diagnosis”, and out will pop some suggested occupations. Specific cases may be basically unsuited to the suggested occupations. Telling someone to be a funeral director when that person has zero people skills is just a fuc*ing joke. However case managers are serious and do terminate coverage with those expectations!!! In my own, fairly recent case, I was prematurely sent for a “vocational”, although why remains a mystery to me as I am highly qualified. In my last job I was working as an exec manager in a large public hospital but my employer (and the workcover insurer for that matter) decided to sack me after my last major surgery, despite the fact that I had a certificate of capacity allowing me to do the same job as I was doing prior to the last surgery (and with the requested, reasonable ergonomic aids, which were never provided to me, although requested repeatedly since 2006 – this is not a joke). Anyway, not only was I suicidal at the time of the “vocational” (it occurred within weeks of being sacked, which caused me to plunge into a major depression), but I had also been certified UNFIT for all work by my GP, psychiatrist, psychologist and at the time one IME psychiatrist. The Vocational guy literally clicked a few computer keys and there came out a list of “suitable jobs” for me, as identified on the labor market. Those “suitable jobs” were NOT discussed with me. When I received the report, however, I nearly fainted (see below) One of the “suitable jobs” identified was that I could work for the Minister and do “ministerial briefings”, “as I had considerable experience in the field”, WTF??? I am a trained intensive care nurse, who then retrained somewhat in business management for health care professionals and improvement techniques and I worked my whole life in large public hospitals, so to state that I have experience with “ministerial briefings” is just disgusting. Another “suitable job” that came up was that I could work as a “ward clerk”. Now consider that I am not only a specialist nurse who was found never ever to be able to return to nursing again due to the severity of the injury (in 2006 already), but I moved up the ranks and became an exec manager. Consider that the hospital and the workcover insurer sacked me because “I am too impaired” to hold down a fu*cking desk job, right, how on earth do you want me to work as a ward clerk? Not only would such a role be very demeaning to me (consider being a pilot and then be demoted to being a steward) but the duties of a ward clerk in a hospital consist of photocopying, milling making coffee, filling water jugs, finding and carrying and sorting heaps of heavy patient files,dragged from the basement and pushed in a supermarket trolley and non-stop answering telephone inquiries and simultaneously entering data on a computer/doing computer searches. Remember that I only have 1 non-dominant arm, so tell me, how on earth do you want me to carry out these “duties’, whilst I am deemed too “impaired” to hold down my exec management role which consists of computer work, coaching, teaching and meetings?
- There are several problems with this “computerised job program” used in vocational assessment:
- That program was NEVER designed to be used that way; it is just a gimmick used by workcover insurance companies and their so called “vocational assessors”
- When one gradually unlayer the issues of someone with for example chronic pain, you will come up with a list of 10 to 20 problems; one cannot simply put one problem in and get a realistic account of what one can do. For example you cannot simply put in “cervical radiculitis” and cover all the problems a person will have. Chronic pain spreads to other areas; in the neck it is found to spread quite regularly and is called somatic pain, with extrasegmental spread, facet and other structure pains. Headaches and occipital neuralgia from tight neck muscles could be factors. Medications for chronic pain, fatigue, lack of sleep, and so forth take their toll. I do not believe the system of seeing someone for a brief assessment or merely doing a file review will give anywhere near an accurate assessment. This again is not giving the injured patient the benefit of the doubt. People with cervical radiculitis will invariably develop a regional myofascial pain syndrome due to somatic spread of pain.
- The reason case managers are able to put in “A” diagnosis is on their forms there is just a place for ONE diagnosis. It is expedient for doctors to put in simple terms like neck strain when actually it is much more complicated. Anyone with sense would know that if someone had not recovered, it was because there case was not as simple as a one diagnosis problem but this common sense seems to escape case managers. As one of my doctors said, “he was totally unaware this abuse was occurring and will never put ONE diagnosis down ever again”
Some years ago, Canada Disability Pension Plan had a scheme whereby if someone could do a certain job, s/he could not qualify for disability. The courts ruled that this so-called occupation had to be suitable and readily available, and to give enough income. Only 1/10 people can make it as a salesperson in insurance. Suggesting all workers are suitable for such and can make reasonably gainful employment is rubbish.
Not only does workcover insurances have to suggest occupations, there is a real onus on them to see if it is suitable and viable for an injured worker to do so.
I do not believe that a computer program is at all useful in the multidimensional problems that especially chronic pain involves. The way it is used is just plain criminal.
Vocational assessment (on an injured person with 1 functioning non-dominant arm who has worked an entire career in hospital)
- Working for the Minister ( kid you not!)
- Building and Building maintenance (WTF)
- Ward clerck
But this injured worker got sacked from her hospital management position (desk job) based on impairment!