|California Coalition for Workers Memorial Day|
Report on Workers Memorial Day '08
The Workers Compensation and medical care is a debacle only because the leadership of Californa deregulating insurance companies-self-insured corporations that reign over the workers of this state and our country.
Since 1989 after being injured at Kaiser, I attended my first legislative hearing on worker compensation. It was the first WC reform that would be the beginning to deny injured employees their medical care and benefits. Stress claims and repetitive injuries were the targets and these injuries were climbing at a fast and furious rate. It was at this time that Kaiser employees were starting to be harassed, discriminated against, exposed to toxins and then purposely given far too many work responsibilities.
This was happening because Kasier was not hiring new employees and those that were exposed to multple working tasks and na unhealthy and unsafe work environment, were going out on a record number of workers comp claims with psych and multiple physical RSI's-Repetitive injuries. At the time I was also a SEIU union steward and a Sacramento Central Labor Council Executive Board member. In 1993, Gov.Pete Wilson who with Willie Brown-the Speaker passed another WC Reform in lieu of passing the state budget.
QME'S-Qualified Medical Examiners WHO BY INSURANCE COMPANIES, were paid large sums of money to write false doctor reports on the injured workers. Subsequent reforms increased the amount of wc weekly wages but still those who had serious injuries were denied medical care and wages. This amounts to about 300,000 people per year IN the last 19 years and amounts to approximately 6 million citizens and taxpayers of California who can no longer work. Many of these workers are recieving medicare and social security because insurance companies have illegally cost shiftedthe benefits paid for these workers to medicare and social security and other public funded social programs.
In 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed SB899 that completely evicserated medical care, the type of disability, total permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation. Not that many of these benefits were given to those who suffered the worst of their injuries since the early 90's. For years after the first reform, injured workers had to hire applicant attorneys to file their worker comp claims, thinking that these attorneys would ensure them their benefits.
HAVE THE INJURED WORKERS BENEFITED WITH LEGAL COUNSEL? NO!
Injured workers fared far worse with receiving about the same they do as today which is little to nothing for being totally permanently disabled. Worker's claims were lowballed with the help of their attorneys resulting into pittances of their due compensation. With the passing of SB899 by Arnold and many Democrats, insurance companies were now denying medical care just because they could and that included injured workers who had claims prior to SB899-2005, legalizing what had been done illegally done for well over a decade.
Insurance companies were given free reign over medical care, wages and other benefits thanks to ARNOLD'S SB899 AND DEREGULATION. Injured workers who had judicial ordered lifetime medical care were now being denied their necessary life sustaining meds. One injured worker who's work related botched neck injury was denied his anti- bloodclotting medicine by an insurance carrier adjuster died, because of a blod clot This is what he feared the most before he died.
Workers with back injuries aren't sent to hospitals immediately or seldom are by the employers and insurance companies that deny their claims only for their injuries to exacerbate. These injuries are not reported to OSHA. These same employers are self-insured companies and they are in complete control of THEIR injured workers claims. The less money they spend on an injury (under $200,000) for all, per year, then they get to keep their selfinsured status and certification, no penalties, no sanctions, no criminal charges for the deliberate injuries and criminal neglect for injuring workers.
Workers with RSI's and serious injuries are totally ignored and told that their pain is in all their heads but then they're given, NSAIDS, opiates, tranquilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs and sleeping medications while their injuries worsen. AND most of their medical histories are used against them, either by not using the work injury history as evidence or using their medical history from years past to discredit their injuries and their good name; whichever benefits the insruance company and the self-insured employer. This is what the injured have to look foward to if they are lucky to get to a doctor.
Seriously injured workers today receive "jack in the box" medical care and are told to go back to work whle their injuries are worsening. Our younger workers face insurmountable obstacles in receiving the right care, much less other benefits.
Fraud and corruption are rampant by insurance companies and self-insured employers.
There have been many others besides myself who have attended State Safety and Health and workers compensation commission and legislative hearings, workers who have testified on their own behalf because they cannot get their medical care, or any justice in the worker comp courts. Judges who are supposed to lean towards the side of the injured tell injured workers they have NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS in the Worker comp courts AND JUDGES WHO ARROGANTLY VIOLATE INJURED WORKERS RIGHTS IN THE COURTS Like Judges
Dugan, Volkan and Robinson and many others while the whole WCAB acts as it's own independent judicial branch with impunity from any other agency that is solely under the Governor 's office. But the governor's office will not make appointments with injured workers or addressing their grievious and legitimate complaints, but then neither do state senators, assemblymembers, federal congressionial and senators for this state.
Let us not forget Presiding judges like Joel Harter who decides how much of a worker comp file to give to the WCAB ethics committee for complaints of judicial misconduct OR State superior court Judge Kenneth Peterson who gives complaints of judicial misconduct to the WCAB Ethics committee instead of the superior court judges to investigate the judical misconduct themselves.
Insurance defense lawyers become worker comp judges and commissioners who know how to destroy their cases and claim all the while violating injured workers their due process. These defense attonerys who get paid top dollar to help the self-insured employer hide the toxins, the chemical exposures, the molds, the multiple injuries caused by heavy workload and short staffing, the setup of workers with previous injuries, giving them jobs that will cause them permanent totally disabling injuries, those who will not get the medical care they need, nothing but medications that will destroy their body organs over time and eventually lead to their earlier then expected demise.
Myself and others have been to the Fraud Assessment Commission to talk about fraud by employers and insurance companies, toxic chemical exposure AND company CORRUPTION ONLY TO BE SHUT DOWN in public hearings by people like William Zachry who is not only the FAC's commission CHAIRPERSON but also THE Vice President for SAFEWAY'S RISK MANAGEMENT. They don't want to know about insurance fraud, because they wouldn't get money from self-insured employers to justify their existence to prosecute innocent workers.
These workers are not only disabled but now are destitute, who have lost their homes because of no income, and not being able to take care of their families which results in a total destruction of family and financial resources. How many families have been destroyed. MILLIONS OF THEM. How many children's quality of life have been negatively altered during the hard times because an injured worker can no longer provide for their family. MILLIONS OF THEM!
WILLIAM ZACHRY started working as a supervisor in 1985 for the California state's Self-Insurance Agency. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A PROFOUND CONFLICT OF INTEREST by the state of California. AND HE'S BEEN APPOINTED EACH YEAR FOR THE last 9 YEARS BY THE GOVERNORS OF THIS STATE that lets self-insured employers arbitrarily and illegally deny wc benefits to their employees. The FAC receives about 22 million dollars a year from self insured companies via the NICB-National Institute Crime Bureau;a nonprofit organization for the insurance companies to pay for California's state fraud unit county District Attorneys. This has purchased immunity.
These district attorneys persecute and prosecute innocent injured workers for fraud and then get the state DOJ, paid for by the taxpayers for more persecution and prosecution but DO NOT proescute self-insured employers like Lowe's, Kaiser, Safeway and Adventist, SICF-State Comepnsation Insurance Fund for fraud,corruption and multiple abuses committed by the self-insured employer and insurance companies.
William Zachry was appointed BY Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on his new fraud task force. We have been to Steve Poizner's office and met with him personally. He said he would investigate our claims of fraud and corruption. That was over a year and half ago. One injured worker who had proof of blatant self-insurer fraud committed by it's staff was told he did not have a case, but yet another state agency-FEHA-Fair Employement and Housing with the state DOJ stated he did! This injured worker is still waiting for that San Mateo county district attorney to file charges against Lowe's.
Prior to our visit Steve Poizner's and his staff, there were several of us who went under Garamendi''s watch and we were told that the insurance commissioner doesn't go after insurance companies, and that QME's erases taped medical evaulation evidence. That is criminal under the penal and insurance codes but no one prosecutes them.
The supervisor D.A.Jeff Ritchard said that hidden taping was illegal and carried heavier criminal charges then even the federal government. Nothing has been done on our behalf about the abuses on injured workers from the insurance companies by the Dept.of insurance either under Garamendi or Steve Poizner. It is an agency that does not go after insruance companies for fraud, corruption or any other criminal activity committed by insurance companies or self-insured employers and the criminals they hire to commit these crimes.
When SB899 was enacted, the medical care standard was given to ACOEM-American College of Employment Medicine-home office in Elk Grove Village, Il. and has about 6000 worldwide international staff. ACOEM is sponsored by industries such as DOW Chemical and GLAXOSMITHKLINE- a Germany based Pharmaceutical company. These doctors from all over have set standards on injuries and pain. Pain is no longer considered a limitation disability thanks to Arnold's SB899. ACOEM replaces the medical standards that benefit ONLY self-insured companies and insurance companies, thanks to Governor Arnold Schawrzenegger.
My latest attempt was to go to Dan Lungren's Folsom Town Hall meeting in last November. Steve Sandi, Doug, Sandi and I told him and his staff about Sandi son David being exposed to microorganisms, fungis, bacteria-BIO germs! During the town hall meeting, Dan Lungren said it was a state issue. We told him it wasn't Medicare that pays for David's medical bills and not the insurance company which makes it a federal issue.
Because Liberty Mutual (formerly Golden Eagle) did not pay for her sons' medical care and wages, Medicare has paid for over 330,000 of medical bills and that social security pays for his wages-this is totally borne on the taxpayers. This is illegal and criminal cost shifting that happens to most injured workers who are permanently disabled.
I asked Dan Lungren to commit himself to get a congressional hearing to hear abour worker comp fraud and corruption illegal and criminal cost shifting to medicare paid for by the taxpayers. I am still waiting for those congressional hearings.
After that town hall meeting, it took several phone calls and finally we (April Gottman and I) had a meeting (in early Dec-2007) with Dan Lungren's staff and told them about the massive fraud and corruption, the denial of medical care that leads to death-murder by inusrance carriers and their adjusters. That about 300,000 injured workers have to go on medicare and social security because insurance carriers do not pay on their claims to injured workers. Insurance companies and self-insured companies like Kaiser, Safeway, Lowe's, Adventist, who illegally cost shift their workers compensation inusrance costs to medicare and social security. That Medicare and social security, the IRS, know what is going on. That the federal Dept. of Justice , the GAO and the OIG-Office of Inspector General has been notified of the fraud, CORRUPTION AND OTHER EMPLOYER AND INSURANCE ABUSES ON INJURED WORKERS!
His office staff said they would investigate. April and I are still waiting to hear from Dan Lungren's office. April still waits since 2000 and going to Congressperson's Matsui's office for her owed benefits.
The workers of this state and nationally are under seige with no healthcare, the loss of wages, pensions, no justice, no consitutional , civil and and human rights AND the loss of the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Now the last and most heinous of all employer crimes is the BROWNFIELDS 2006-2008. Where A person Stuart Licktor who is IRAD,IRG-AN INSURANCE COMPANY ONTO HIMSELF, has been selling what appears to be radioactive and other military chemically filled sites to cities like Downey, California. On that site is Kaiser, Downey Studios and other businesses. Kaiser was allowed to buy the 62 acre site for 13 million dollars, all the time knowing that patients, employees, family members would be exposed to radiation and other deadly toxins. But Kaiser has exposed it's employees to many other unsafe and unhealthy conditions before, all over the state, so what else is new?
The privatized EPA and former military joint chief of staff are involved in the selling of these toxic lands across the state and other states. Privatized government doesn't work because the profits go to individuals, that are paid to operate by taxpayers.
SEIU who has failed to represent it's workers whether it be overwork, understaffing, abusive mamangement and very dangerous unsafe working conditions. One of the kaiser workers tried to get to talk to the Ca. SEIU President Sal Rosselli but he would not talk with her about the Downey radiation and other toxic exposures!
Most of us injured workers have lost the ability to work and to provide for our families, are totally disabled, lost homes, lost our reputations and the loss of our dignity and respect, all thanks to legislators and government officials who have deregulated insurance companies and other corporations and who have thrown their consitutents to the trash heap, all for their corporate friends profit margins and there is a dead man policy to finish the job for CEO pension funds.
The federal government itself has become self-insured by creating a workers compensation system for our soldiers, who lose their limbs and die while fighting in IRAG and other countries. Do they or their families have just as hard of time getting their benefits. YES! THEY DO!
You can go to GOOGLE and search Dina Padilla and Lou Dobbs for a letter I wrote to him and others about our soldiers on U.S.Government worker's compensation. IT''s a national travesty! People have to awaken to what is going on around them and fight for what is theirs and their families!or what they earned throughout their lifetimes!
They have to hold all of their leaders and government officials to hold their "leaders" accountable and responsible for the destruction of workers on the job. We have to hold our leadership responsible for corporations , including insurance companies and self-insured employers that destroy California and American workers all for profit.
The INSURANCE INDUSTRY IS WORTH TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND OUR CONGRESS NEEDS TO HOLD HEARINGS TO GIVE US AND OUR FAMILIES BACK OUR DUE RIGHTS AND COMPENSATION!