What can I say but I am stunned! Today a friend of mine was denied taxi travel to and from medical appointments and treatments, which, by the way, had been officially approved in writing on 19 September. How’s that? Well, so they [the WorkCover Insurance Case Manager] tell my fellow workcover victim (who is seriously injured) that the reason for refusing the taxi transport is “because they need further medical evidence“…
Consider the following evidence in support of the taxi travel for the workcover victim
On the 26 of July the workcover victim’s treating doctor requests taxi transport:
After receiving the usual, routine run-around (read bullsh*t) from her case manager such as that there is no “clinical justification” that the workcover victim actually needs taxi transport; that there is nothing to say that the person can not drive a car (for God’s sake!); and that there is no reason that the person can’t take public transport; the workcover victim gets a second letter from her treating doctor with a clearer and more graphic explanation of the reasons why she can’t drive a car and can’t take public transport.
[I know the text is a bit small,so here is what it reads: “The requests provided by the GP were not really sufficient and he hasn’t actually provided clinical justification for providing taxi travel. There is nothing to say why you couldn’t still travel on public transport to appointments.” ]
Next, the case manager starts the process with the usual delay tactics and eventually writes a 2 page fax to the workcover victims treating orthopedic surgeon; who eventually even speaks to the case manager directly to explain in detail why the person needs taxi transport.
[“We have faxed a request to your treating surgeon to provide information with regards to taxi travel and are waiting on a response. The issue with taxi travel will be addressed in due course”.]
OK, done. Wrong. Now comes the need for the independent medical examinations, right. The first email my friend received was to say that she needed to be – hold your breath – psychiatrically assessed- in order for the case manager to make a decision whether or not my friend would be entitled to taxi transport.
[“We will make a decision once we have reviewed both the physical and psychiatric assessments”.]
The psychiatric “independent assessment” took place on 8 August 2011 and the report clearly states that:
[ Does the work-related psychiatric condition preclude the worker from travelling by means of public transport or car? If the answer is yes, please explain how. She indicated that there was considerable pain, and fear of being bumped. In my opinion, taxis are needed for her.”]
So now we have support from the shrink, good. On the 6th of September 2011 my friend is sent to an “independent”medical examination with a general Orthopedic Surgeon and he writes in his report:
[“Regarding her restricted function in the right upper limb, her dominant arm, I think the patient would be dangerous driving a car. Travelling as a passenger in a motor vehicle would be the best option. Travelling by public transport, with the jolting and jarring inherent in such transport would be a use of pain for her, and therefore I would think the appropriate form of transport for this patient is by taxi, or being driven by another person.
In general summary,this patient’s traumatic episode with reference to her right shoulder originally, has led to a high level of permanent impairment with very unfortunate results for her social, domestic and employment future, for which she had high expectations prior to the accident”.]
Note the last bit: “high level of permanent impairment”! And he clearly writes that my friend really needs a taxi.
WorkCover denies taxi travel to sriously injured worker in-spite of overwhelming medical evidence showing the need for taxi transport
So in summary here we have as medical evidence for taxi transport:
- Treating GP
- Treating Specialist orthopedic surgeon
- Independent Psychiatrist
- Independent General Orthopedic Surgeon
What the f***k more does WorkCover NEED, for God’s sake? This women is in a terrible physical state and on top of access to public transport from her house is as good as non-existent, unless you want to first walk 20 minutes, take a bus to a shopping centre, then a tram to a train station, then a train, then another tram, then walk again… and go back home. Not to mention try to carry something when your arm is hanging out of it’s socket, try using the Myky with 1 hand, try holding on when no seats are available and hey, be bumped into slightly and not so slightly by the busy, hurried crowds!!
On 19 September my injured friend thought that at last she had finally been granted taxi travel to and from her medical appointments. She received an email from her case manager stating:
[“Dr…suggests that you require taxi travel and now that we have a decision regarding transport we usually book taxis at 3 monthly periods. So we will need you to indentify how many trips will be required over the 3 months period , the name and address of the treaters you will be seeing.
If you could provide this information as soon as possible so these can be organised.”]
In addition, she received a formal letter from the Cab company detailing that workcover (insurance company) had requested taxi be provided to and from medical appointments and treatments.
Today, 27 September my injured friend was told that she was no longer able to receive taxi transport – she nearly fainted. The email she received today:
[“Please be advised that [insurance company] is still awaiting medical information and I am therefore unable to approve taxi travel at this time. on receipt of the relevant information,I will provide you with further advice by email.”]
A taxi booking was requested to attend a scan for her shoulder injury tomorrow morning. This had been requested already on 19 September.
Isn’t this just outrageous? Is is a case of sheer incompetence, mistake? Or do you reckon they realise that the taxi costs are adding up and are desperate for a way out, hence they are seeking further medical evidence – but from where????
I frankly think this is absolutely disgusting and unprofessional behaviour. My friend is now stranded, beside herself, and in tears… and just can’t see how on earth she is going to get to the scan tomorrow morning (for which she already had a special injection 2 days ago) and which cannot be cancelled or postponed. She has no money to pay for a taxi. Her partner is interstate for a week and she has nobody to take her to the test. How can they be so cruel? Why did they not even tell her a day or two earlier, given that they knew she was to travel already on the 19th of September?
Shame on you WorkCover insurance company!