Further to our article titled “Time to discuss some issues with Mr Kim Garling – the NSW WIRO Officer “, which states that despite having 31 staff and the (WIRO) office costing $8.4 million a year to run, Mr Garling was forced to admit the office had received just 350 complaints in almost a year in the job. ”….And worse, “Of those, 50 matters are outstanding – only two of them “serious”; it appears that one of the reasons for those few complaints is that few injured workers know of the WIRO’s existence. Mr Garling wants to make sure NSW injured workers know the WIRO is there to help injured workers.
Too few NSW injured workers know of the WIRO existence
Workers’ comp fight ombudsman appointedBy IAN KIRKWOOD Industry
Aug. 30, 2013 – Newcastle Herald
Kim Garling, who was appointed to the $300,000-a-year position of WorkCover Independent Review Officer by dumped finance minister Greg Pearce, was in Newcastle yesterday (on August 29) at an Australian Workers Union delegates’ conference attended by about 80 people.
Mr Garling, a leading light of the Law Society and the Legal Aid Commission, said legislation underpinning the NSW workers’ compensation system made it adversarial by nature.
“The worker and the insurance company are being pushed towards a dispute whereas in nine out of 10 cases its usually pretty clear what is going on,” Mr Garling said.
He had been appointed for five years and was determined to improve injured workers’ positions.
“I have lobbied the WorkCover Authority to have our name and contact details printed on every document that goes out to injured workers but they have resisted so far,” Mr Garling said.
Mr Garling said the workers’ compensation system was not like “normal insurance” where insurance companies had “skin in the game”.
“The government collects the premiums from insurers and all the money goes into a central pot,” Mr Garling said.
“The insurance companies act as claims managers, they get paid per claim settled, so it doesn’t affect them how much is spent. Everything comes out of the one pot – administration costs, payments to workers, medical and legal expenses and the insurance companies’ payments.
“Labor believed that while the scheme was in deficit, the deficit would keep moving forward. The Coalition wanted that deficit removed, which is why the changes were made.”
He said the changes had already resulted in a substantial improvement to the system’s finances. [Really?]
As far as contacting the WIRO regarding any negative decision(s) made by NSW workcover insurers, we couldn’t agree more with Mr Kim Garling and urge all NSW injured workers who have had their entitlements or benefits cut to get in touch with the WIRO immediately for further assistance; even if it’s only to ensure that the insurer has not “scr*wed” you over.
We believe that, to date there has been around 7,000 NSW injured workers who have had their weekly payments and medical expenses ceased by means of the famous “work capacity” decision.
Of these decisions, only 8 (eight) been reviewed (and published) by WIRO – which has highlighted consistent major procedural flaws by the insurers in the manner in which they have determined their decisions.
Direct link to the WIRO>>