Jun 192012
 

WCB bonuses for getting injured workers back on the job criticize

CALGARY – Alberta is the only province where Workers Compensation Board staff get bonuses for swiftly getting injured workers off benefits and back to work – and must discontinue these “immoral” incentives, according to the Alberta Federation of Labour.

It was revealed last week that Alberta’s WCB uses bonuses to reward staff who help return the injured to work.

The AFL said Alberta is alone in using such bonuses. “The use of financial incentives to encourage WCB case managers to disallow claims or move injured workers back to work when they may not be ready for it is not only a built-in conflict of interest, we go so far to say it is an immoral abuse of the workers’ compensation system,” said Gil McGowan, president of the AFL.

Board spokeswoman Jennifer Dagsvik said Alberta’s focus on helping injured workers get back to work is also meant to aid in a healthy recovery. The longer an injured worker is off the job the less likely they are to ever return to work, she said.

Canada.com, Sun July 25 2010

What this is really about:

Conservatives in the U.S. claim that these draconian measures are all simply about state budgets facing deficits and trying to rein in spending. This is a smokescreen.

As Prof. George Lakoff, former communications guru to President Barack Obama’s election campaign, said in the Huffington Post: “If the Wisconsin plan to kill the public employees’ unions succeeds, then there will be little union money in the future to support democratic candidates. Conservatives will be effectively unopposed in raising campaign funding in most elections, including the presidential elections. This will mean a thoroughly conservative America in every issue area.”

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times: “Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions – an offer the governor has rejected. What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab – an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy.”

Why is collective bargaining so important?

Lakoff explains: “The real point of collective bargaining is the idea of fairness inherent in democracy. Without unions, large corporations have an unfair advantage in hiring individual workers: Workers have to take what is offered, a fair wage for work done or not. Unions help to even the playing field, enabling workers to have a fair chance against wealthy, powerful large organizations – whether corporations or governments.”

He continues: “If those unions are destroyed, American life will become unrecognizable in a remarkably short time. Democracy as we know it is at stake in the Wisconsin protests, not just budgets and unions.”

The situation in Canada:

Canadian media, including the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, have recently covered a report by a Winnipeg think-tank called the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, which claimed that public-sector pay raises in a decade from 1998 had risen faster than private-sector pay. (It ignored the previous decade, which saw an attack on public-sector pay and jobs and overlooked the overall decline in middle-class incomes while executive rewards soared, even in a time of financial chaos.)

This study and others by groups claiming to represent taxpayers or small businesses have been used for years to undermine the public sector and the important work they do providing vital public services.

This pressure is growing. If the anti-union, anti-middle class, anti-democracy moves in the U.S. succeed, you can be sure you’ll see them here.

Summer-Fall 2005

Allegations of fraud

A former Alberta WCB Case Manager made some very serious allegations of fraud against the WCB in an article from the Edmonton Journal – Sept. 11/99

Pressure on at WCB, ex-staffer says \ Case managers encouraged to deny claims, cut payouts to injured workers.

Case managers at the provincial Worker’s Compensation Board are pressured by their supervisors to deny claims or reduce payouts to injured workers as a cost-saving measure, claims a former WCB employee.

The WCB looks for ways to save money by minimizing the income-support payment s injured workers receive, and by reducing their permanent disability awards, says former case manager Kevin Becker.

“It’s done in a very convert ways,” said Becker, who worked for the WCB from 1991 to 1997.

“You (the case manager) put in an earning loss claim for a worker, and your manager will come back and say “No, we can save money if we say the employee is capable of doing some work, when we know he’s not.”

“Or you are told to tell the injured worker he had a pre-existing condition, like arthritis in his back and he isn’t eligible for disability payments. It’s that kind of thing.” He said the WCB’s prime strategy seems to be a war of attrition – “keep denying and the worker will give up. ”

Becker, who has a consulting firm and also is an advocate for injured workers having trouble getting WCB payments, said the practices appear to be the same today as they were when he left two years ago. “The focus is on liability – how much liability are case managers able to clear away to protect the WCB fund,” he said.

But a WCB official denied Becker’s claims, saying the board’s primary focus is on customer satisfaction, both for employers and for injured workers.

Becker’s comments come as Human Resources Minister Clint Dunford is deciding whether to investigate a number of complaints against the WCB by injured workers. Becker didn’t blame individual case managers or supervisors. Instead, he blamed a corporate culture which he says pays more attention to the bottom line than to injured workers. “They have lost sight of what they’re supposed to be, which is protection for the worker,” he said.

Employees who save the WCB the most money tend to get promoted while those who are deemed to be too generous to injured workers are often forced out of their jobs, he added. “The system generates a lot of statistics on which case managers are costing the most,” he said. “Those who are, tend to get ridden a lot harder by supervisors. There’s a lot of constructive dismissal.”

But a WCB official disputed his allegations. “At no time has there been any motive for case managers to deny benefits,” said Nancy Saul-Demers, director of corporate communications for the WCB. She said staff members are paid bonuses based on worker and employer satisfaction, not on the amount of money the WCB saves. “Any bonuses they receive are tied to corporate objective that revolve around customer satisfaction,” she said. “The motivation is to ensure that workers are satisfied. We wouldn’t try to do that by reducing benefits.”

WCB payouts for income support, medical costs and rehabilitation have been increasing yearly, which She cited as proof the WCB isn’t slashing benefits to save money. The average cost per claim has risen to $9,200 this year from $8,500 in 1997.

But Becker said he noticed a shift in attitude in 1993 and 1994, as the WCB attacked its mounting deficit.

“They started digging up old claims,” he said. “We were told to take a look at old earning losses and to see if we could reduce it. We were phoning up workers who had received entitlements for years, and saying we’ve just reviewed it, and decided that you’re capable of earning more, and next week your cheque will be less.”

He left in 1997 to do human resources consulting work for the David Thompson Health Authority. He also turned his WCB experience into a career in workers’ advocacy. :

”It’s my impression the WCB has become much worse since I left,” he said.

From the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance newsletter:
http://www.ciwa.ca/archivedNewsletters/2005Summer-Fall.pdf

Jun 172012
 

Is This The Truth
Posted on July 24, 2010 by JLS

WCB Employees Paid To Commit Fraud

For most Canadians it would come as a big shock to find that the government(s) runs organizations like the Workers Compensation Board for the sole objective of cost reduction for big business, with itself as one of the largest employers taking full advantage of the conflict of interest.

The Federal Government instituted the Meredith Principle as law into Canada approximately 80 years ago. Today, even though the Federal Government passed on authority to manage Workers Compensation to the provinces, it remains itself one of the greatest benefactors of the new perverted version of Workers Compensation.

Today there is hardly a trace left of the principals set out by Chief Justice of Ontario, Sir William Meredith. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they have taken this legislation, turned it inside out to become a one way street to ensure injured workers have no rights at all. Workers Compensations today uses its own kangaroo courts to insure every right injured workers had are decimated.

The four parts of the principles set out by Chief Justice of Ontario, Sir William Meredith are that employers bear the direct cost of compensation, receiving protection from lawsuits arising from injuries; workers give up the right to sue their employers and receive compensation benefits at no cost for work-related injuries; negligence and fault for the cause of injury are not considerations; and a system administered by a neutral agency would have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters arising out of the enabling legislation. This neutral agency became the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

Today before an injured worker even gets to where they are allowed to ask the Supreme Court for justice, every appeal in the WCB kangaroo courts must be exhausted, one thing is certain, that by the time injured workers are entitled to ask for justice, the injured worker will be either dead, or dead broke. The time that passes can easily take up to or exceed a decade of abuse, a psychological, and financial bashing that is unparalleled in any other form of law today.

Nearly every lawyer today rejects claims for the following reasons, first that WCB law does not comply or need to comply with the standards of our real courts of law. The second is that it’s a complete waste of a lawyers time, and clients money, there is no chance of winning. There is however the odd exception to the rule, and that’s what is thrown if the face of every critic of the WCB.

One lawyer wrote to the BC Bar asking for someone willing to take on a case where fighting WCB was like having gone into an Alice in Wonderland form of judicial law. The complete absence of any resemblance to law whatsoever, where WCB makes up and changes the rules, ignores its own rules, and imposes a twisted versions of rules on any lawyer foolish enough to stand up for injured workers.

In a nutshell WCB does the following, in about 90% or more of all of its claims it pays in full with no complaints, these consist of everything from a sliver of wood in the hand to minor cuts and bruises. All those minor claims are WCB’s claim to fame that they are doing their job and doing it well.

Now on the other hand, injuries like Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or other debilitating injuries that last for decades, or even for life, those are the costly claims, and are also the claims WCB has no hesitation to spend a million dollars to insure a claimant will not set a precedent by getting what is owed to him/her. The crux of the matter lies in long term and permanently injured workers, everything else WCB talks about is smoke shows to divert the public from the real truth.

Well if what I am about to say might offend you, too bad, we as a society need to wake up, grow up, and take some responsibility for the mess we have allowed to exist in our country. It’s your fault we are in this mess because you and your neighbor never spoke up when someone you knew got shafted by the WCB. My fellow Canadians, you are a bunch of idiots if you think, we as a society can gain dignity abroad fighting the Muslims in Afghanistan while on the home front we treat our injured workers as bad as the Taliban treat their women.

Let me say this, do you think the same idiots who designed WCB, will actually make an exception for our permanently disabled veterans? If you do you better crawl back under the rock you have been hiding under. Do some research; they are already being tossed to skid row.

Pardon me for not doing the “heel toe dosey doe” for the Liberal in Alberta who was honest enough to tell the story about how the WCB employees get paid to screw injured workers over.

Pardon the blunt language but common courtesy in the past and present, has meant inhuman treatment for fellow injured workers to a society too busy with their own self preservation to do anything about it.

Is there not some bitter irony that this story exposed by the Liberal Party in Alberta comes hot on the heals of the Patrick Clayton story. Will someone wake up before we have to nominate Patrick Clayton as the only man willing to stand up and tell the truth about what is going on inside the Workers Compensation system, not only in Alberta, but all of Canada? Sorry make that two people in Alberta now, let’s not forget Hugh MacDonald.

Well it was good of the Alberta Liberals to expose this crime, only the Liberals should have said that Patrick Clayton indeed had little options left and the path he chose and may have been for him the only option he could find left. This admission by the Alberta Liberals also gives powerful credibility to the claims made by Patrick Clayton and that indeed all he really wanted was to find a way to expose this story, he was a first hand witness, he was a victim of crime.

Ask any injured worker who has tried to tell their story to the press, and found they were just banging their head against a brick wall. Patrick Clayton was right in regards to the fact it was the only way people would listen to what he had to say.

The second issue is, where is the call for a police investigation into this crime, and while they are at it, they can find this crime duplicated in each and every province and territory in Canada? It’s a Pandora’s box that nobody has guts enough to take on because to do so would jeopardize a relationship with big business and industry, not to mention the cost of having government employees.

Now I also have to ask what gives with the names of our political parties. Has anyone besides me noticed that when it comes to shafting injured workers, all three major party names are very big on the list of making promises to treat injured workers fairly, then in return you might well have urinated down their throats if your actions could speak for you.

Take for example in British Columbia the Liberal Party had one member in particular who really road the band wagon of justice for injured workers. Do you know what the Liberals did once elected? After all once you defeat the existing government, what else can you do to put the truth about WCB back into hiding? The Liberals did what they all do in every province when the WCB’s looking like the criminals they really are; they had a review, and guess who represented the big business in this review?

Well it was none other than Allen Hunt, and guess who the Liberals hired to implement the findings of that review?

Well to bad you can’t have Charles Manson as head of your justice committee, using your logic it would have made very good sense.

Isn’t it amazing when you have a government that hires one of two disputing parties to write the new rules, insanity obviously is hitting new heights and to this day no one has had balls enough to do anything about it?

Look again at the words in the Meredith Principle Agreement and try find any form of neutral party in the name Allen Hunt.

Oh, by the way, check up and find out if Allen Hunt is even a Canadian, he was not at the time our governments hired him. And pray what the hell were the Liberals in British Columbia thinking when they hired an American to re-write Canadian Law?

The citizens of Canada got what we paid for, it’s called “Screwed” and corporations all across Canada were laughing all the way to the bank. Its not just Canadian corporations, the vast benefactor of these new WCB policies befit foreign investors even more, as today the vast majority of big business is majority owned outside of Canada.

So then we must ask, what the hell is a Liberal? Not that they are better or worse than the NDP or Conservatives, they are all a bunch of liars who will say anything to get elected, and then my mind asks me if Patrick Clayton, did or did not have alternative options.

There simply is not enough space here to post the crimes each party has committed against the permanently disabled injured workers. Each and every party n power has a long standing legacy of balancing its books on the backs of injured workers.

Ask yourself this, when the government and the WCB does not have to follow the law, should the citizens of Canada be required to? Would you still condemn Patrick Clayton if you understood what he was up against? It is still against the law to endorse crime so we won’t go there.

Please don’t answer that, instead lets hammer those responsible for this mess and have them tossed out of their offices, without their lucrative pensions as penalty for the crimes they committed against fellow Canadians.

Seriously just how corrupt can our WCB Boards get before someone will say enough is enough?

Why does government continue to balance its books on the backs of the disabled?Why do those working to screw injured workers over have such mind boggling pension plans paid for with injured workers blood?

Time For a Reality Check

Injured workers are being told on a daily basis for decades now that if the adjudicator cannot see pain, there is no claim. Blatantly adjudicators have said directly to the face of injured workers, “we have unlimited resources, we don’t care if you try seek litigation”.

Nearly every injured worker has been sneered at with the following comment, “Workers Compensation is not required to pay for pain, and it pays only for lost wages”.Now we know they don’t pay for either pain or lost wages.

We have seen instances where adjudicators have bragged to employers that they have a ZERO track record for anyone staying on WCB benefits, then being promoted by coincidence for their outstanding achievements.

We have thousands of cases in Canada where Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome is being denied after having been classified as fakes by people who subcontract for WCB as physical therapists. The irony is that these people were already certified as suffering from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome by licensed doctors, or in some cases expert medical doctors whom are specialists in the field.

The way injured workers with CRPS are being treated today makes a joke out of the Supreme Court ruling on that very same topic.

A history of DENIAL by compensation boards regardless of medical evidence proving injured workers were honest in regards to their medical history. Yet the Workers Compensation will spend hundreds of thousands of injured workers dollars to show the rare case of a fraud claimant.

The reality is that for every fraud claimant, there are about 1000 frauds committed against injured workers. The WCB Boards have hired in nearly every serious injured worker claim, a spy to watch and video or document injured workers movements, regardless of the traumatic impact this type of investigation has on honest, and law abiding citizens of Canada, even if there is evidence that investigators fabricate evidence, they continue to be rehired.

WCB Boards have a history of hiring or refusing to rehire private investigators, rehab consultants, or any persons dealing with reporting on the condition of the victim if they do not end up getting cost reduction. Nearly in every case where WCB contracts out work, the work entails a form of denial of claim, and its not a secret this business of denial is one of the most lucrative startup business today.

Hiring drop out doctors from med school to find in favor of reduction of cost of claims, period, and to heck with the real truth, they are the backbone of WCB’s medical review panels.

WCB to this day refuses injured workers the right to have a witness present when their own privately hired doctors do the assessment to determine permanent injury. They have the right to refuse not only the witness but the obligation to pay injured workers for their injury as forfeited by the injured worker for refusing to be examined if you refuse to be examined in the presence of a witness.

The very AMA Guide they use states clearly the rules for using that information, yet WCB allows these doctors to violate those very rules in order to reduce WCB costs.

The doctors they use are the same ones used to fight injury claims in auto accidents, so as a doctor, their job is to make a liar out of the injured worker, to negate the claims of injury are the objective of these doctors who defy the oath made by doctors to protect and serve their patients best interests.

The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history. Written in antiquity, its principles are held sacred by doctors to this day, however these doctors are paid to slander what other doctors gave diagnosed, to refute the true extent of an injury.

Ask yourself how the actions of these doctors are not the most flagrant violation of the Meredith Agreement, and it flies in the face of everything that legitimized the Workers Compensation System in the first place. Refer to the Meredith Principal.

In British Columbia the Workers Compensation Board writes letters to injured workers doctors, demanding that in order to get paid; they must conform to rules that are withheld from the public, a form of extortion that makes doctors afraid to write anything supportive of injured workers claims.

Doctor’s behaviors after receiving these letters is 180 degree shift in attitude towards their patients, they absolutely refuse to write anything that can be used in a courtroom to prove an injured workers claim. Some specialists will only agree to see you if you agree not to use their findings in a courtroom.

Regardless of how honest injured workers are, WCB adjudicators are notorious for using the “laughing in your face” tactic to elicit a reaction out of you that could be used to terminate your benefits. Another common tactic injured workers must endure is the comments “your just too lazy to return to work” again to elicit a violent reaction they can use against the injured worker.

Instances of where adjudicators are suggesting patients (injured workers) use opiod drugs to be able to return to work, that despite the danger it poses to both injured workers and fellow workers.

Instances where adjudicators refuse to follow the advice by a patient’s doctor, to be referred to a specialist, and then the patient is also not allowed under WCB regulation to sue for the consequential injuries.

The WCB refuse to be responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of an injury. Example is when you have one leg that is unstable or a head injury that causes a loss of balance, the injury that occurs due to a fall is not recognized by WCB.

The WCB also like to use a chart to determine what they owe injured workers; however the very first statement in that chart says that the contents are not to be used to evaluate the disability of injured workers. I refer to the AMA charts that are being used (abused) systematically with only one objective in mind, ironically they never use the words to deny a claim, and they use the politically correct version of “cost reduction.”

Let me stop here, because if any investigation needs my help I can over them about 20 pages of abuse by WCB without ever having to repeat myself. Look up Workers Compensation on CBC or CTV and read the comments left by hundreds if not thousands of Canadians who have been burned by none other than their own government, because they had an accident at work. A crime they must pay for by living in poverty for the rest of their lives.

In closing I would like to thank Hugh MacDonald for having been honest enough to step forward with some truth in regards to the WCB. Canada is in need of more honest men and women with the courage to stand up for truth, even if it’s more cost effective to shut up and hide as most politicians do.

As for evidence to back up what I have said, I have a box that weighs over 80lbs of paper, video tapes, audio tapes, legal documents to back up everything said in this article and would be happy to hand it over to any lawyer with the integrity and courage to fight this abuse.

As for the common Canadian citizen, please have the courage to stand up and tell these political hacks to their face that their days of abuse need to end…..immediately or face the fury of the electorate.

Fight for people who have been treated worse that the victims of abuse overseas that we claim to be fighting to liberate. Fight to liberate our injured workers from a lifetime of poverty and verbal abuse from both WCB and the governments who allow them to abuse disabled injured workers.

The RCMP should put locks on the WCB offices until a complete investigation is done into the behavior of all WCB employees, likewise no unions should be allowed to negotiate excuses for crimes committed against WCB victims.

Dereliction of duty charges should be laid in the case of every upper level management position found to be supporting the current corrupt WCB system. Criminal charges should be brought against every person who willingly and knowingly reduced or removed injured workers benefits.

Charges of deliberate psychological abuse charges should be laid against all adjudicators who have verbally abused their position to reduce costs for the WCB.

Finally all charges against Patrick Clayton be placed on hold until the investigation into the WCB is completed, in the mean time Patrick Clayton needs to be sent to a rehabilitation center and compensated for the abuse committed against him. If in fact the WCB is found to be guilty, all charges against Patrick Clayton should be dismissed.

JLS ……For What It’s Worth