We’ve railed against the higher financial costs brought on by delays in medical care as evidenced in a report published late last year, but make no mistake: The highest costs are being paid by the injured workers who end up with a permanent disability because their medical care was delayed.
This is the story of a woman who sadly lost her life last year as a result of having her surgery denied by utilization review.
The woman suffered a work injury that resulted in severe back pain for which her doctor had recommended surgery.
Having been denied the medical treatment she needed, she continued to work because she couldn’t afford to take time off, relying on pain medication to get her through the long and arduous days.
Her attorney continued to advocate for her care, sending her to an agreed medical evaluator for an update on her condition in hopes of finally getting her surgery approved.
Nine months after having her treatment denied, she was found on the floor of her kitchen.
We hope that had she received the surgery when her doctor originally recommended the treatment, she wouldn’t be dead today.
This isn’t a story that needs to be repeated.
Access to medical treatment for injured workers has been under attack for years in California, with hurdles such as utilization review being thrown up as roadblocks and causing serious delays, permanent disability and death.
Michael Castillo is communications director for the California Applicants' Attorneys Association. This opinion is republished, with permission, from the CAAA website.
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