The Workers Compensation Regulations for 2016 have been released and
despite our hopes of a fresh attitude the Regulator proves its just business as usual.
One of the most significant complaints we hear at the Injured Workers Support Network is the disenchantment from injured workers when they realise that the insurers aren’t really interested in their health or their welfare.
They get told that the insurer is seeking a second opinion to see if the treatment is the best available or just a second opinion on the extent of their injury. Off the go to an Independent Medical Specialist with an expectation that the doctor is wise and has their health at the heart of the consultation.
But then there is the bitter silence as they don’t get any access to what that specialist said. the paperwork is owned by the insurer they get told. You don’t need to see it and you cant get access to it.
The truth of the matter is that the Independent Medical Specialist you are being sent to is what they call a Medico-Legal. They are paid by the insurer to boost that insurers claims that you are not entitled to X Y or Z.
They are owned by the insurers solicitor. not by you and were never intended to inform your medical plan- just to save the backside of the insurer if you go to court.
So there is disappointment. you will only see these reports in a court case or when the insurer is legally obliged to provide them to you (legally obliged).
In the Injured Workers Support Network’s submission to the updated regulations we saw an opportunity for the regulator to enforce transparency in the actions of the insurers. We believe that injured workers should have access to their own records, held by the insurer, to the same extent that you have access to your medical records held by NSW Health, or your local GP, or your specialist, or… well anyone else who has care of your health.
The Regulator doesn’t see this though. They are continuing the disconnect between the health of injured workers and the legalese of the insurers.
We wanted you to have access because it should be your right. A child brought into the states care has access to their files, an adult adopted as a child has access to their files. Injured workers don’t and the regulator is fine with this.
We thought the new system would be different. We had that hope, instead its out with the old system, in with the new system.
Its’ not your health they care about, not your recovery. just protecting the insurer once again.