Thanks to “R”, it has come to or attention that Dr Michael Epstein recently wrote on his website that IME doctors are basically very much in the firing line (being complained about), because injured workers have ready access to a number of blogs , for example ‘aworkcovervictimsdiary‘ and the injured workers support network that feed into (injured) workers’ hostility towards the WorkCover system and those who work in it.”
“I have a certain sympathy for APHRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), it is a difficult task but those of us who do independent medical examinations are very much in the firing line. Especially because complainants have ready access to a number of blogs , for example ‘aworkcovervictimsdiary‘ and the injured workers support network that feed that feed into workers’ hostility towards the WorkCover system and those who work in it.”
Read article | Learn more about Dr Epstein (on his website) including the fact that he co-authored the GEPIC guidelines because he believed too many injured workers were rorting the system!
IME doctors in the firing line because of Diary of a Workcover Victim
Should we take Dr Micheal Epstein’s comment as an insult or a compliment? We say a big compliment indeed!
Let’s start by rephrasing Dr Epstein’s comment:
Now, let’s get some Facts straight
Independent medical examinations
After a workplace injury or illness your whole future is essentially determined by reports filed by your treating doctor(s) and specialist(s)and any other professional treating you. If your workcover insurer sends you to a doctor other that your personal treating doctor(s) and specialist(s), chances are good that this doctor (such as an independent medical examination doctor) receives the majority of his/ her business from workcover insurance companies. Do you really think this IME or other assessor would give you a totally unbiased medical report regarding the status of your injury/ies fully knowing that other workcover referrals would stop if they did?
Many of those in the medical profession are extremely reluctant to admit that there are real mavericks amongst them – that is, that there are doctors in the profession who will give evidence, whether in the form of an ‘independent medical examination’ report, or by means of acting as an ‘expert witness’ in court, which is at odds (to say it nicely!) with mainstream medical practice.
When pressed, many doctors admit that there are such ‘maverick doctors’, however there are a relatively small number.When you ask them “Who?” they will decline to answer…. for obvious reasons!
We, injured workers who have been in the system for a prolonged time and have been ‘examined’ by many IMEs are very concerned that there are ‘lists’ of -let’s say- class A and B IMEs. Those IMEs on “the list” will be “A” class and those not will be “B” class, which frankly has a destructive potential and is not be in the best interests of the community or medicine. We don’t see the workcover and their insurers readily wanting to give up their “privilege” of choosing their favourite IME and medical witnesses! That workcover (insurers) misuse such lists is plain obvious, why else would countless injured workers complain to aworkcovervictimsdiary about the same IMEs over and over again?
No matter how hard they – workcover and insurers – try to make the “lists” not discoverable, ultimately injured workers make the lists! And, of course, we urge all injured workers to file formal complaints, if they have been subjected to unprofessional and/or grossly biased IMEs. It’s the only way this callous behaviour and misconduct will stop.
Injured workers, like any other ordinary patients, want nothing but balanced medical opinions about their injuries. Injured workers, like any other patients, would like to have a reasonable expectation that all and any “independent medical examination doctor” and “impairment assessor” are honest, accurate, professional and are ‘used’ to help injured workers rather than to impede their recovery, downgrade their injuries, or by telling porkies – all in the name of PROFIT (so as not to cut off the hand that feeds them!).
Injured workers’ rights
When you’re unfortunate enough to suffer a workplace injury or illness you (the injured/ill worker) need to observe your rights – But our injured/ill workers’ rights are never explained to us, are they?
When we were first (seriously) injured we freaking had to go on line to find out what our rights were only to find that our basic rights were breached over and over again by the workcover system and their insurer(s). Their websites are extremely cumbersome to navigate and when we asked for explanations by telephone it struck us that ‘they’ are not properly trained, or worse, that ‘they’ simply don’t care! Or even both and hence our injured/ill rights are not readily considered. We believe that by not disclosing the injured worker’s rights, “they” have and keep “control”.
Our ongoing aim is to describe what you can expect from workcover (insurer), while – most importantly- simultaneously making you (the injured/ill worker) aware of your rights and how to exercise them. That’s what this blog is all about, moving you in the right direction for information (and education).
We tell you what the system wants you to know. We also tell you in a painfully clear manner, devoid of most “legalese nonsense” what the system does not want you to know.
Knowledge gained from aworkcovervictimsdiary (and like-minded sites) will definitely help you survive, perhaps not thrive, but survive the workover system.
[Article by WCV and WCV3]