“Doctors frustrated workers’ compensation boards seem to ignore medical opinions, report says” / Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Toronto Star, Jan. 9, 2017)
A two-year study [read Final report], led by Institute for Work and Health scientist Agnieszka Kosny, looked at healthcare providers’ interactions with workers’ compensation systems in four provinces including Ontario, their role in the return to work process, the communication and administrative challenges faced.
“It found doctors treating workers with complicated or prolonged conditions [such as those involving multiple injuries, chronic pain or mental health conditions] were frustrated by an “opaque and confusing” system where their views on a safe return to work after an accident appeared to sometimes be ignored by case managers with no medical training…”
This echoes the experiences detailed in the request for an investigation into WSIB practices filed with the Ontario Ombudsman by doctors, injured worker advocates and labour in Jan. 2016. [The Ombudsman’s decision is still pending – see ONIWG Dec. 2016 letter ].
Among other findings of the report – the contentious use of “independent medical consultants” who review workers’ medical files, but often never meet the patient (“paper doctors”). While compensation case managers interviewed for the study attributed their heavy reliance on consultants to difficulty in getting information from the injured workers’ doctors, healthcare providers for their part expressed concern over both the independence and medical opinion of such consultants…
(Note: Dr Kosny will be discussing the study at the January 31st IWH Plenary)
- Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups. 2015 Nov. Prescription Over-ruled: Report on How Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Systematically Ignores the Advice of Medical Professionals. Toronto: OFL
- Institute for Work and Health. 2011 Spring. “Relationship Trouble: The Role of Health-care Providers in Complex Workers’ Compensation Claims.” At Work 16: 6-7