A recent report by the Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health reveals that those who make return-to-work decisions about injured employees may be more interested in containing their costs than protecting the well-being of workers. Some doctors believe their recommendations following a workplace injury are frequently ignored, particularly when it comes to workers suffering from mental illness, chronic pain or multiple injuries. Physicians in Vancouver may concur with the report's findings.
Those doctors worry that many members of the workers' compensation boards have little medical training. In fact, one physician reported than a worker was nearly denied benefits for a spinal injury because the worker's case manager became confused over basic human anatomy. Case managers respond that they rely on medical information from doctors because they rarely meet the patient. Managers complain that doctors do not always provide the information in a timely manner.
The concern that workers are being rushed back to work is not new, and a formal complaint was lodged to Ontario's ombudsman by doctors and worker advocates last year. Workers frequently lose their benefits when a case manager determines that they are well enough to return to work, even if a doctor has recommended continued care. Workers' advocates believe the problem is with the system and that it requires urgent attention.
Employees in Vancouver who suffer a workplace injury have the right to consult a lawyer for help in claiming their benefits. If a worker feels that he or she is losing their benefits too soon, a lawyer will have the knowledge and skills to advocate for the employee's rights. Having legal assistance to navigate the complex issues of workers' compensation will allow the injured worker to focus on recovery.
Source: thestar.com, "Doctors frustrated workers' compensation boards seem to ignore medical opinions, report says", Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Jan. 9, 2017