Speaking in general terms, it has been said by Victorian senior lawyers and many Victorian injured workers that, when a matter (dispute) needs to be referred to a Medical Panel, the Medical Panel tends to provide fair and consistent outcomes; and that -unlike “independent” medical doctors (IMEs) – Medical Panel doctors generally display quite a high (or at least higher) level of independence….
Fact: many injured workers who suffer from primary and/or secondary psychological injuries, who are repeatedly sent to independent medical exams – IMEs- (or Medical Panels) have to go over the same information over and over again, regurgitating their (very) traumatic events, and in doing so are actually made sicker, setting back their chances at mental recovery. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to countless other injured workcover victims. A psychologist advises injured workers to take the following steps in order to become a little more proactive and assume control over their independent medical exams (interrogations), recovery and rehabilitation.
A decision of the Medical Panel is usually legally binding on the parties and a court is generally required to follow its decision. Therefore great care and consideration is needed in determining whether to refer a matter to a Medical Panel. In February this year we posted an article titled “Beware that Medical Panel opinions & decisions are legally binding ” in which the Victorian Court (2012) was required to examine whether a prior Medical Panel decision was binding on a subsequent Court deciding an entitlement under the Accident Compensation Act. The Court of Appeal found that it is binding.
Late last year, the court of appeal (VIC) handed down a – in our humble opinion- rather harsh decision concerning Medical Panels, which may have serious ramifications and consequences for all injured workers referred to such Panels.
When a good piece of satire presents itself. Its hard to resist. In fact, impossible.
The source derived from this article on UK politics and disability assessment.
An injured worker, Sheryl (obviously not her real name) wrote to me recently about her experiences of Conciliation in the Workcover system. Sheryl has been “captured” within the Workcover system in Victoria for over 10 years and has experienced Conciliation at many different stages of her claim. She says that Conciliation is sometimes good and useful in progressing an injured worker’s claims, but it is always damaging to the injured worker’s health as well.
Getting through a permanent impairment assessment in Victoria is not as straight forward as many injured workers may think. There are – unfortunately – many dirty tactics routinely used by so called “independent assessors” (and of course the hand that feeds them, namely the workcover insurance) used to deliberately downgrade your permanent injuries, all in the name of insurance profits (minimising your payout/legitimate compensation).
By popular demand, here is the Guide to the evaluation of psychiatric impairment for clinicians (G.E.P.I.C) used today to assess permanent primary and/or secondary psychiatric/psychological conditions suffered as a result from or as a consequence of a workplace injury, by insurance doctors and medical panels.
We have been informed that any injured worker with concerns or complaints about their claims or how their claims are being managed can now contact WIRO (WorkCover Independent Review Office). We urge all injured workers who feel their claims have been mismanaged to contact WIRO and voice your concerns.
I couldn’t sleep last night due to severe shoulder pain and was up all night, initially watching crap on TV and then surfing the net on my partner’s iPad. For fun I entered the key words “malingering + workers compensation” and was shocked to see how much bullsh*t came up! Needless to say that the added frustration and anger of reading these “articles”ensured that I could forget sleep altogether! Anyways here are some highlights I found… brace yourself.