Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Medical Letter related to worker's compensation

I won't post the medical letter here. It was a letter in reponse to one given by an attorney acting on behalf of an insurance company.

This is the kind of editing that I do, which might probably be considered aggressive by some MTs, and, I predict, is way above some MTs.

I had minor revisions on the letter itself, but I raised the following issues to the doctor who wrote it:

Before finalizing this letter, please verify with Dr. XYZ the following:

(1) if this phrase "should discontinue" meant that the insurance company asked whether Ms. XXX is to discontinue work (and what is this work specifically?)

(2) Dr. XYZ said, "I do not believe she will have any permanent functional impairment with regards to her left shoulder when and if she progresses through physical therapy and without difficulties."

--I believe the insurance company's concern then would also include if Ms. XXX should be temporarily disabled and approximately for how long, and if not, if she would require to be given none or light to moderate task through time as she undergoes PT. I believe that this letter does not address those concerns clearly and would put the insurance company and the employer at a loss on how to proceed giving Ms. XXX her benefits, or on how to continue employing her.

(3) On this phrase:"With regards to the second statement that Mrs. XXX suffers from similar problems in her right shoulder, she did complain of right shoulder pain the last time I saw her." -- Is this statement as Dr. XYZ himself said, or is there a statement also by the insurance company or the attorneys that referred to a similar problem in her right shoulder? Basing on the letter, it seems that this is not presently the concern of the most recent letter, although it is quite okay to bring it up as this also has work compensation implications. The objective findings of the right shoulder exam are of no concern to the insurance company and to the lawyers; what they would be interested in is how this condition will affect her work proclusions and her compensations. It will be better for Dr. XYZ to state a tentative schedule of the observation period, during which, in what work conditions should Ms. XXX be, then an approximate date of followup, and so on.

I am predicting Dr. XYZ will have major changes done in this letter to address those concerns.

I wonder how many MTs are that brave to make such comments to the doctors?

My observation is that this doctor is a novice to worker's compensation issues. I am no expert in that, but I had enough exposure to pre-employment, annual medical exams, and compensation issues, have educated myself on the DOH's rating system for such pre-employment exams, also to the seafarer's med exam as per ILO guidelines. I know enough about it to point out the inconsistencies and innacuracies of the doctor's letter to the attorneys. I am sure he will overhaul that letter.

And I am confident he will probably inwardly thank me for the indirect education.