Dear Injured Workers – Know your Legal Rights.

The following post was submitted via the Guest Post section of this blog:

Dear Injured Workers,

I am writing today in the hope that I can help assist and protect many of you from the unethical and at times illegal behaviour of many workcover insurers. I myself was a victim of this disgusting and corrupt system from 2010-2014. That is maybe a story for another day.

Today I wish to inform injured workers of a very disturbing incident that happened to my injured wife. This occurred due to the appalling behaviour of a so-called Mobile Return to Work Specialist with a workcover insurer.

My wife has a very serious back injury due to her work and has had no capacity for any work since injuring same in October 2017. The claim was accepted, surgery eventually approved and is now 8 weeks post surgery and still in significant pain from the surgery and multiple lumbar disc injuries. As many of you would already know this is a traumatic time and one which takes its toll on the entire family concerned.

As I have indicated earlier my wife has NO Capacity for any work at this stage which is confirmed by her treating GP, Neurosurgeon and IME report. As of this month, her pay will be 20% less than her normal wage. I am sure that you all can appreciate how difficult that is for families as many of you would be in a similar or even worse situation. With my own workcover case, I had no weekly payments for about 18 months due to being sacked 3 days after submitting my claim form.

As you can imagine the insurer is only focused on getting my wife back to work. This is where this serious privacy and doctor-patient privacy issues have arisen. A Workcover insurer Return to Work employee without my wife’s written or verbal consent, called her treating doctors medical practice and booked a 30-minute Medical appointment/Case conference in my wife’s name. This is a serious breach of her privacy (See Section 13 G of the Privacy Act.)  It is also a violation and serious invasion of my wife’s doctor-patient privacy.

As mentioned earlier my wife had given no written or verbal consent to any employee of this workcover insurer to make such appointments, in her name, or to discuss personal medical information with her Doctor without her consent and without her being present. This applies equally to an injured workers Employer.

The orignal workcover claim form that you sign in no way authorizes or gives your consent to the Insurer/Employer for such behaviour.

Once hearing of this serious breach of privacy my wife called her treating doctor/practice and cancelled the appointment made by the Gallagher Bassett employee. She then advised her GP and his staff that no such appointments are to be made in her name without her consent and that this practice should cease.  As you can imagine we were furious, as was her doctor and the matter has caused her significant anxiety and distress.

We have filed written complaints re the actions of the Return to Work employee and to Gallagher Bassett and other authorities. Please remember that a signed authority to release medical information on a claim form in no way gives the Insurer/Employer the authority to conduct themselves in the above manner. Yes, they have access to your medical information from your treating doctors. This should be done using the appropriate channels ie: by requesting and paying for a written update on your medical condition and treatment from your doctor. The Insurer/Employer has no legal right to book or attend an appointment with your treating doctor or any IME appointments without your consent.

Please make sure that you advise your treating doctors to protect and respect your doctor/patient privacy. If you are notified by any insurer that they have booked a medical appointment/case conference with your treating doctor, without your consent, then PLEASE cancel the appointment. They have no legal right to do this. Please protect your rights.

From my investigations, this is a scheme/stunt started in South Australia.

You obviously should seek your own legal advice relevant to your claim. (As we did) & protect your rights.

 

10 Responses to “Dear Injured Workers – Know your Legal Rights.”

  1. To whomever wrote this article via our Guest post section, I say thank you! Very enlightening …but unfortunately a well known practice of many insurers at least in VIC many years ago, they do it via telephone as well and will go as far as to really pressure your treating doctor to state you have some capacity for work, like licking envelopes if you are paralysed from the neck down. They also write cover letters (with questions attached) to doctors and IMEs stating all sorts of things such as “it has been said that there might be a psychological overlay….” (ie about an injured worker with totally smashed body parts)… as to trick the doctor or IME to agree that there may well be a psych overlay re the extreme pain that injured worker has etc. They put words in the doctor’s mouth so to speak. Just sickening.

  2. Medical practitioners are totally ignorant regarding on what is workcover and what is the insurer.
    They regard the insurer as the “health department”!!!
    They don’t understand that the insurer is no more than a business trying to do their best to avoid paying.
    I’m finding myself in troubles because I can’t find a GP who is willing to work with workcover claims, they say “we don’t do workcover, workcover is too much headache!
    Does anyone have a list of GPs who deal with workcover claims?

    • Sadly, I believe that the Insurer and Employer are within their rights and that your cancelling the appointment causes you to be accused of non-compliance. My background is NSW, but I’m happy to take you through this step-by-step. I feel for you, but I’m concerned you have been duped – it’s what they do. adam@inspiredsolutions.net.au

      • I wrote this article and you are wrong. The insurer or employer have NO Legal right to book or attend medical appointments in your name with your treating doctor. I have sought and received legal advice re this matter and the insurer involved has also admitted fault and apologised in writing. Don’t be fooled by their standover tactics to threaten suspension of your weekly payments. They require your written or verbal consent to book and attend these appointments. I am not referring to IME appointments. A private medical appointment/case conference with your treating doctor is NOT a RTW obligation. It is a matter of doctor/patient privacy. Updated medical information re your workplace injury should be requested by the insurer in writing. I have also notified the Victorian Ombudsman re this behaviour by workcover insurers. Injured workers need to INFORM themselves and stand up to this unethical behaviour.
        Knowledge is POWER.

    • @Anthony, let us know in what state you are, and some of us may be able to help you. I had a fab doctor in VIC and know a couple of great ones in QLD

      • Thanks for help.
        I live in Victoria.
        I had to leave the family Doctor because he refused to deal with workcover claims, he said workcover is too much headache!
        Then I found another Doctor and had to leave too because he regarded the insurer like the Australian government authority even so the Doctor didn’t know anything about workcover.
        And again problems with other Doctor for bills not being reimbursed/delayed by the creepy insurer.
        I’m being told that we live in a democratic and modern civil society but all I see is bull being perpetrated behind the curtains.
        I sent you an e-mail on 09/10/18 to workcovervictimsdiary at yahoo.com.au and got no replay but I understood that you’re fighting with injuries and might not be able to answer all e-mails.
        I’m happy that you’re back and I love your cute friend cockatoo!

        • “Anthony, yeah sorry I haven’t read emails etc going through too much at the moment. Also did not have internet for most of 2017. An awesome GP in Melbourne is a Dr David Burgin in Fitzroy North (tel 94894339). Call him. X0X0

          • Dr David Burgin might be good but his secretary is like a cold answering machine.
            She couldn’t tell me if the Doctor deals with workcover and she wouldn’t ask too so she asked me to make an appointment (and waste my money) just to have a chat with “someone”.

read-before-u-commentThis is a statement pointing you to our seriously injured but esteemed and honourable Social Networking Sites Warning and our comment policy. A must read in the context of a very adversarial workcover system! Remember to mention in which state you reside if you seek advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *