As I mentioned earlier, I am in the process of attempting to get my final impairment assessment rated by a Medical Panel, for the third time in three years. However, whilst I have not received the formal Opinion of the Medical Panel, they surely already told me that they could not proceed and would have to suspend my impairment assessment yet again because of “injury not stable”… This after 7 years… Needless to say how demoralised I feel, the main issue being that I cannot commence a common law damages claim until such a time as I have had an impairment assessment. I am completely broke, live of food hampers and help of friends and really could do with a modest little “lump sum” just to get out of debt and perhaps to go and visit my family who lives overseas and who I have not seen since 2003! Anyway…
Documents – “relevant material” for the Medical Panel
Part of the Medical Panel process is that they allow the workcover insurance company and you (the injured worker) to forward to the Panel relevant medical “material”, as in medical reports, letters, x-rays, MRIs etc for consideration for the impairment assessment. It is after all very important that the Medical Panel has a good and accurate picture of what your injury is about, all the surgeries your have undergone, how the injury has impacted upon your life (i.e home help, taxi transport etc) etc.
Well, guess what: my workcover insurance company has been extremely selective in forwarding “relevant material” to the Medical Panel. I received from the Medical Panel a copy of a document called “Schedule of attached reports and other material” prior to the examination. This document shows a list of all the material that has been submitted by the workcover insurance company for ‘consideration’.
A. Relevant material forwarded by workcover for the psychiatry assessment
It is important to know that I was also to undergo a psychiatric assessment by the Medical Panel for psychiatric impairment (injury) as a direct result of the accident. Now, here is the bit where you have to hold your breath, the workcover insurance bastards sent only one (1) report from my treating psychologist dated 2005 (6 years old) for “consideration”! You’ve gotta be kidding! They of course deliberately omitted recent psychiatric reports (i.e. 2010, 2011), they even omitted all independent psychiatric assessment reports ( and I had no less than 5 in 2011)!!! All more recent letters and reports from my treating psychiatrist and GP were also not forwarded, of course not, because they all stated that I was extremely depressed and had been suicidal…
B. Relevant material forwarded by workcover for the physical assessment
For the physical assessment (impairment rating) workcover, hold your breath, sent only 1 report from my treating orthopedic surgeon, dated May 2011.
I have undergone 7 major operations and suffered many complications (including life-threatening ones), yet not one surgical report was forwarded for ‘consideration’. That I had transplants was also omitted. That the 7 surgeries failed was omitted too. That I suffer from severe CRPS (RSD) was not deemed “relevant” for consideration, so no pain specialist reports were sent. They did not even sent their own IME reports for ‘consideration’, of course not because even they wrote in their reports that “I have a useless limb”. WTF! I am shocked!
In addition I had undergone two recent MRIs, the last one in August 2011, which showed rather catastrophic deterioration and end-stage stuff… yet the MRIs were not even mentioned! That my surgeon had requested major surgery just in May this year was not deemed ‘relevant’ and was not disclosed. I am too shocked to go on, for the list is endless.
The worst possible fraud, cover-up from workcover re the Medical Panel
If the above is not enough to bang your head against a wall – read this bit,and you may just understand how I feel today…
After I had received the Schedule of Attached reports and other material from the Medical Panel I was of course beside myself and desperate to find copies of relevant material that I could submit myself to the Panel for consideration.
Unfortunately I did not have a copy of the most recent relevant documents, because the Medical Panel’s examination was scheduled at very short notice (10 days). My treating GP was unfortunately on holiday during that critical time and my treating surgeon was on conference leave. So, that left me with the only option: obtaining urgent copies of relevant material from the workcover insurance itself.
I emailed my case manager 6 times and explained 6 times the need and urgency of obtaining copied of various reports under the FoI Act. I also explained that my GP and surgeon were away and that I was unable to obtain the material elsewhere, urging them to expedite my request.
They (case manager) often will FAX or attach a scanned document in an email to me (i.e. request to attend an IME, denial for payment of something etc)…but here, well yes, they refused to email me a scanned copy of relevant material… And I did not receive any relevant requested material on time (via normal post) for the medical panel.
On the day of the examination I did inform the Panel that the workcover insurance had refused to provide me with any relevant requested material and pointed out the very selective material they had submitted. The Panel made a formal note and thanked me for letting them know.
I did manage to give them a copy of a recent MRI (the images) and an x-ray which I obtained at the hospital where I had them done, at least I had something and some proof. I also had some notes from my pain specialist whom I had seen the day before….
Anyway, to cut this horrible story short, after the Medical Panel’s examination I received yet another “Schedule of Attached reports and other material”, updated with my own provided material and an “email from the workcover insurance”…mmmhh… Obviously this was the bone scan or the bone scan request – alerting the Panel that I most likely have a bone infection and hence the Panel has suspended my impairment assessment based on “injury not stable”. Nice try workcover insurance bastards, you won again, and can keep your money -that I am entitled to-, a little longer…
When I looked at the schedule of attached reports, I noticed that there was one (1) report from my treating surgeon (15/04/2011) and one (1) report from my treating GP (30/04/2011).
I had asked for a copy of both these reports from the workcover insurance.
On 19 September, AFTER the Medical Panel’s examination I received a letter from the workcover insurance company re my request for access to the information I had urgently requested for the Medical Panel (above).
Well, I nearly fainted….
The letter states that – hold your breath- “…following a thorough and diligent search we are unable to identify or locate these documents..”
Now, the Medical Panel’s Schedule clearly shows that these two documents were received!!!!
So what the f**k is going on? Can you see to what extent these workcover insurance companies go to cover-up your injuries, to hide your injuries and to, in all probability, MAKE UP FALSE reports about you? This is absolutely outrageous and disgusting and this is happening to ME!
I cannot stress enough the uttermost importance to ensure that you obtain copies of all relevant medical documents pertaining your injury and that you scrutinise everything that is sent to an IME or a Medical Panel!