A quote contained in a recent Huffington Post article “The Pope Has
A Radical Solution For The Refugee Crisis: The Golden Rule” struck
me as directly relevant to how the California Workers' Compensation
system should treat injured workers:
"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view
them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond
as best we can to their situation," Francis said. "To respond
in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid
a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome."
Pope Francis' admonition in his address to Congress regarding how we
should treat immigrants regardless of their country of origin left me
wondering - is the California
workers compensation government bureaucracy treating injured workers humanely?
At this year’s annual WCIRB Conference, Bill Zachry, VP Risk Management
for Safeway/Vons shared his philosophy concerning the treatment of injured
workers: “Treat the whole person,spend more now to save much more later, and finally, probably the easiest and most effective technique, to communicate.”
(David DePaolo expanded on this idea in his blog “The Whole Person.”)
Thus, the consensus seems to be this: getting injured workers healed and
back to work is not only the right thing to do, its good business.
People before profit.
Don't Put Profit at the Expense of People
The current Utilization Review and Independent Medical Review machinery
clearly runs afoul of what Francis and Zachary are talking about. Profit
at the expense of people is masquerading as "cost savings".
Physicians hand selected by the insurance companies for their Medical
Provider Networks can't even get treatment that is routinely authorized
by health insurance companies, or even Medicare.
Government bureaucrats are touting the system a "success", but
that is true only if the measure is how much employer premium insurance
companies are keeping.
I have no doubt about what Francis would think about the tens of thousands
of people who suffer each day waiting for the treatment that can help
them get back to work. I wish he had the time to tell policy makers in
California what he told Congress.
I wonder if it would make a difference.