Gordon Davies, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong raised some extremely important points which were either overlooked or blatantly ignored at the NSW Workers Compensation Inquiry in June this year.
Professor Davies highlighted the adverse outcomes experienced by injured workers as a result of insurance company maladministration and questions the reliability and validity of ‘Permanent Impairment Assessments’.
It is important to note, that despite his referral to psychiatric based assessments, the Professor also alludes to the fact that all AMA impairment assessments in general are questionable and subject to wide variations based on the biases of those assessing – as is often the case when insurers send injured workers to their preferred assessors (otherwise known as doctor shopping).
If taken seriously both of these issues would bring into doubt the whole premise of the recommendations that were eventually passed as well as highlight the fact that the system was already causing significant distress to injured workers and will increase significantly with the passing of new laws.
For example, we know that the central measure used for limiting and denying claims are based on Permanent Impairment Assessments, and as Professor Davies points out ‘ these measures are more an art than hard science and are neither reliable of valid. So the whole premise being used to manage and compensate workplace injuries are based largely on a lie? It seems so!
However we now know that insurance companies are free to become increasingly hostile whilst injured workers and their families will experience further hardships that can only lead to negative outcomes for injured workers and their families..
Summary of Professor Davies’ Submission
First that insurers be required be required to meet higher standards of administration in regard to timely payments and approval of medical treatment.
Second that the assessment of permanent impairment is not evidence based and has questionable reliability and validity.
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