Injured workers made a strong appearance at the Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Public Forum yesterday afternoon. Most of the afternoon’s speakers were injured workers and their testimony to Department of Industrial Relations Director, Christine Baker and Division of Workers’ Compensation Administrative Director, Rosa Moran was both informative and extremely emotional.
Those in attendance narrated their problems with the workers’ compensation system and carefully delineated the years they had been affected by no payments, lack of medications, delays in surgery, no way to pay their bills since they had received no income over the course of many years.
Voters Injured at Work member Barbara Hughes mentioned she did not know how she would find the money to pay for her gas and electricity and stated that the broken system must be fixed.
There was a particularly strong statement by injured journeyman carpenter David Rawdman who told the panel that doctors should see the person whose Utilization Review they are reading and signing off on. Mr Rawdman’s spine had been severed and the curvature of his spine was reserved as a result of the injury. He currently awaits the date of his surgery and has to fight to keep his medications on hand since utilization reviewers believe it is dangerous for him to use opiod medications even though he is in constant pain.
Linda Labach, a nurse, testified that her frustrations with the workers’ compensation system was based on not getting “enough information to make decisions on utilization reviews.” Why does a nurse have the authority to make decisions and sign off on injured workers’ utilization reviews? Doctors should be reviewing these documents since they are the ones with the training and expertise rather than leaving this important work to nurses.
There was a very important suggestion by attorney Bernardo de la Torre for an efficient and user-friendly website that listed MPN providers.
The outcome of the forum was one in which injured workers are the most affected by the current system and they are the ones who stand to lose the most if the system’s problems are not immediately addressed.
The Public Forums will continue throughout the month of April in Garden Grove today, in Fresno on Wednesday, in San Bernardino next Tuesday, next Wednesday in San Diego and ending with two sessions in Oakland on Monday, April 30.
Please register for the forums and if they state that registration is closed – you may still attend by going to the session of your choice 30 minutes early to register to speak.