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Old 10-12-2004, 03:31 PM   #1
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injured betty HB User
Thumbs down mediator is not your friend

My husband had an appointment yesterday with the surgeon. Today the nurse came out to go over paperwork with him. It was fascinating to watch. She started out telling him that she didn't work for OWCP or his place of employment but was independent. Then who hired her??????

Turns out that she is the go between, between OWCP and work. Whose side is she on? Not the patient's. Her job is to assess the patient and get them back to work as quickly as possible. She told us that she would be at the next doctor's appointment with us as well as at his work. She is going to be his shadow until he is back to work full time.

We thought, dumb us, that she was there to help us through the maze of paperwork. Nope! She is there to be a set of eyes for OWCP to make sure that you really are injured. Where was she before the fusion? She took notes while she tried to hold a pleasant conversation. She asked him several times if he had ever been injured before. She asked it in several contexts. She was making it sound like small talk but we knew better. She wanted to try to make this injury a personal one, not a work related one. But, there were so many witnesses to the accident and it was well documented that she won't get anywhere on this one.

If your injury is work related, just keep in mind, the mediator is not your friend, if you didn't hire them, then worker's comp did. Call them out on it. You are a body. Their job is to get you back into the work force without further injury and if they can, to find a loop hole so that they don't have to pay you lost time off of work, or your medical bills. If you get hurt on the job, yell, stay where you are, and make sure that a lot of people witness it. Document, document, document.

And, whatever you do, don't try to scare them with lawyers, that only makes it worse. The idea is to get better and then go back to work.

take care,

Last edited by injured betty; 10-12-2004 at 03:33 PM.

 
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Old 10-12-2004, 06:14 PM   #2
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kathy372001 HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Injured Betty,
Is a medator like a QRC because WC wanted me to have one of theirs and my attorney said no that he would get me someone that he was associated with which did make them mad but I got my way. Also I hate WC DRs they always so no they arent partial to WC but they are. I even had one of their Drs say Im sorry your in such pain and I told him about my son in the military and he said he will pray for my family and even helped me out to my car.
3 days laters got a letter saying nothing is wrongand there isnt any reason I shouldnt be working back full time in other words they are so two faced DRS.
LIke one person said WC DRS are prostites and are paid very well.
Thats sure seems to be the truth they never agree with the paitent always with WC.
kathy
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Old 10-13-2004, 08:19 AM   #3
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mlachowicz HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Hi Guys! I don't have a WC comp case, but no fault. I was in a car accident. So far I have not had any problems dealing with them.... I wish you the best of luck, and we are here if you need to vent!
~M~

 
Old 10-13-2004, 09:11 AM   #4
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kaybee HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Just an added note, and when you see that person in a tree across the street or in the ditch with a survellience camera, please offer him a cup of coffee!

Not to make light of your situation, Injured Betty, but it's true. The best thing to do since the mediator is actually an enemy, is make sure you at the very least have a supportive dr. who has no problems listing your diagnosis and limitations. WC and private/group disability companies have a goal and that is to stop paying what is rightfully yours. BTW, the rep for the disability insurance company isn't your friend, either. They will use anything you or your dr says against you out of context. Thanks to the few who abuse the system, people who really need it are now guilty until proven innocent and you have to be able to move mountains to prove your case, especially with back problems. Okay, I'll get off my soap box. I'm extremely thankful that dh's insurance company recognizes the fact that he's in bad shape. I hope the WC snakes see the light for your husband, Injured Betty!

 
Old 10-13-2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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cookie51 HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Hi,
Just a quick note, mine is w/c and nurse for comp. goes to every dr. appt. They so try to befriend you so be careful what you say.
good luck
cookie

 
Old 10-13-2004, 05:43 PM   #6
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injured betty HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Thanks for all of the replies. The person who came out was a nurse who told us that, "She was not an employee of ____" which is where my husband works. He already knew that because he has been there for years. She edged around the fact that she is there on the behalf of OWCP.

The only good part of the visit was that she had the same surgery and knew that it was major surgery. We saw her scar. We don't know how to broach the subject that we don't want her in our doctor's visits without offending her.

We also know that WC wants to cut bait and run with injuries. Another thing that is on our side is that my husband loves his job and is not trying to collect anything past the lost time off of work. He is so bored that he walked down there today, for his daily walk.

So far, we can see that even when he goes back, he will be able to perform his normal duties. They will have to offer him other duties for overtime that others who are not disabled are now doing, but that is the way that the union works. I really think that this is all going to work out for us, if only he fuses. She did scare us with words like, bone stimulator, and failure to fuse.

My husband doesn't like anyone hovering so it will be strange when she is around all of the time.

So far, my husband, walks, sleeps, eats, and waits for appointments. He is supposed to start PT soon. He can't wait to get back to work. They told him, no chocolate (caffiene), no sodas and no second hand smoke. He has been really good about all of this. He went so far as to buy a soda, but then put it in the cupboard and drinks water and juice.

How do I stop her from coming into the exam room without offending her?

 
Old 10-14-2004, 05:16 AM   #7
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kaybee HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

I would think that maybe you need to see the company's policy re: WC to find out first if you have a right to refuse her presence at the dr. appt. If you have that right, then tell her outright without being defensive and worrying about her feelings that you don't want her there. Like you said, she's not your friend but my feeling is that she is setting a tone to make you feel comfortable with her so she can invade your privacy. Keep in mind that she's more experienced at being refused than you are. Also make sure your husband didn't sign anything giving her permission to invade your privacy.

The other issue you may need to consider is if this will in any way hurt your claim if you refuse. Then again, what if she takes one statement from the dr. and reports it out of context and it results in your husband not receiving the WC benefits he's entitled to? If you can't get out of her being at the appt, maybe you can ask the dr. if he minds if you tape record the visit just to protect yourselves. I may be way off base with these thoughts but at least maybe you will have some direction about finding out what rights you have.

 
Old 10-14-2004, 07:39 AM   #8
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cookie51 HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

HI,
I am going on 2 years dealing with w/c and they also went in the room with me all the time, till one day, I was feeling really bad and I talked to my lawyer and he said she can come in the room after the dr. has examed me, and he was right. Now when I go she comes in after exam, and dr. tells her his findings, also always be in the room when he is talking to her. It is such and invasion of our privacy, not that we dont want them to know, but there is no reason for them to be in the room for your exam, once you are done the nurse brings in w/c and dr. explains his findings. I cant believe I let them in for so long, I thought they had to be in there, but the only thing they need is the drs. finding which they can get when dr. is done examing you. Believe me I see all the patients doing it, no one likes their privacy invaded like that. Hope this helps, remember you have rights too.
cookie

 
Old 10-14-2004, 10:45 PM   #9
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injured betty HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Thanks for all of your replies. All that my husband needs is to be able to return to work on a very limited basis at first and then to be able to work the rest of his time until he retires doing his regular job. We are not seeking any settlements. So far, everything is being paid for, medically. I am just trying to get some gas/motel/travel reimbursements at the moment.

Our only concern is the doctor not being a stickler about his not lifting anything for awhile. He is more than willing to go back to work in a limited capacity until his neck fuses. He hates being home and limited in his activities.

He is just a very private person and doesn't want WC in his appointments.

He is a very upbeat person and expects to return to full work duties.

take care,

 
Old 10-15-2004, 07:14 AM   #10
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cookie51 HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Hi Betty,
My husband hurt his back last year and went to the hospital, and did not have surgery, he looked at all the problems I have had and was afraid to go that route. He seems better but there are days he feels like it is going to go out on him. He still takes his antinflamotory meds, but lives everyday like a time bomb. He also is on light duty, but there are days his work forgets and has him do jobs that are not so light duty. He does them because he is afraid of losing his job. I worry if they fire him and his back does go out they will not cover it. I do think he has to get a lawyer just to protect his rights in the furture. Hope you husband does well.
cookie

 
Old 10-15-2004, 07:48 PM   #11
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injured betty HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Cookie: When he hurt his back did they make a report and WC accepted it? By law, they can't fire a person due to disabilities, or not hire one, for the same reasons. American Disabilities Act.

It gets touchy. They will look for anything to let a person go if they have a bad back. They are aso afraid of law suits. As long as he keeps a diary and is dilligent about writing in it everyday, a diary is considered evidence in a trial.

When he is asked to do something that is out of his range of duties, or abilities, he should ask the supervisor to show him how to do it without hurting himself. That is a gentle reminder to the supervisor that it is out of his range of abilities. Usually, supervisors are people who were once hurt on the job and made their way up the ladder from light duty worker bees.

He might end up having to have surgery. Better to have it done while he still works there then later. He has a much better case if he has it done while still on the job.

We are so thankful that my husband's accident happened in full view of several people, was due to faulty equipment, and could not have been his fault or avoided. We only wish that it had not happened at all but he is anxious to get back to work. They use his accident as an example at work. When equipment is bad, red tag is.

How long 'till he retires?

 
Old 10-15-2004, 08:19 PM   #12
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cookie51 HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Hi Betty
Thank you for your reply, Do you think my husband should have a lawyer? He says everyday I should have a lawyer,so maybe he should talk to one just to be on the save side. You know w/c, they like to blame everyone but them. How is it going by you? I hope all is well.Have a good night
cookie

 
Old 10-16-2004, 07:00 PM   #13
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injured betty HB User
Re: mediator is not your friend

Cookie, You are in a hard position. If you bring in an attorney, they assume that you are going to sue and take a defensive stance. If you don't then he may not have rights or he may not know his rights. Have him go to the web site of the state that you live in and read about WC and then read the American Disabilities Act.

Have him ask around at work, only people that he trusts, and only with small talk, what happens to people who file WC claims.

Iri is the job of WC to stop frivilous (sp?) law suits. They want the worker "fixed in the shortest time possible and back to work at full capacity". The worker is time and money. The bottom line being money.

You only get one body. There is no amount of money that can compensate for pain. If he feels like he should have an attorney, I would to with my gut reaction. We are lucky in that everything just fell into place for us. An accident happened, there were witnesses, it was the job's fault, it was well documented, and his claim went through. The WC rep has tried to get him to say that he got hurt in someother way, but there is no other way. She made small talk about his hobbies, but none of them involved his neck. If it were his lower back, it might not have been so easy, but his was a very clear case.

I wish your husband luck with his. As long as he is documented and keeps a diary, he should be okay. If you "lawyer up", they take offense.

take care,

 
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