Have you all been holding your breath as I have the last couple of months? Well, you can breath out and feel happy for me – I got paid!
The financial ease is beyond documentation even though it falls far short of what I’m due (a most usual scenario with injured workers).
The fear and doubt that the compensation won’t continue will be ever-present. Being treated repulsively for years can never been forgotten – it’s a kind of irreversible trauma.
I will forever doubt these monsters. Trust was never incorporated into this relationship.
So am I settled, is it done, and am I feeling ecstatic?
Nope. There’s grief and anger to get through now. Grief for the life we lost due to the insurer’s dirty tactics. Anger for having to unnecessarily begin a whole new life miles away from everyone and everything we love. Continue Reading
“…that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.” wrote Franz Kafka in The Trial.
I really relate to this quote right now because I just can’t make sense of my current pending status.
I’ve now been waiting 8 weeks for 5 professionals to answer two questions… that an assigned WorkSafe insurer had the right to set.
That’s bloody confusing in itself.
Further to, I’m wondering a couple more things:
how these 5 professionals, the Convenor, and the staff at Medical Panels convince themselves this process is helpful to me and other injured workers, and
whether they enjoyed their Christmas as much as I didn’t
I called the Medical Panels to follow-up the report and express my anxiety on the matter. I’m feeling I’m going to explode. I’ve been breathing in so much my stomach feels like it has rocks in it and my neck feels like it’s fused with my shoulders. Continue Reading
Injured workers, if there’s just one more email or letter to write, it’s this one to Senator John Williams. I’ll personally be sending all my insurance related posts to the Senator.
(Hansard transcript of Senate debate on the Banking and Financial Services motion.)
Senator WONG (South Australia—Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (12:25): I move:
(a) the Senate notes that:
(i) confidence and trust in the financial services industry has been shaken by ongoing revelations of scandals, which have resulted in tens of thousands of Australians being ripped off, including:
and further down the post
Senator GALLAGHER: And only a royal commission that you, Senator Williams, have been arguing for, for some time. The response from the government has been completely inadequate. Listen to the stories of those people whose lives have been affected, whose houses have been lost, whose retirement savings have vanished, whose businesses have folded and who have been arguing for years—eight to 10 years, for some people—for some sense of justice. This is what this motion seeks and that is what a royal commission will find.
My email to Senator Williams written 28 December, 2016
(The email also included many of my insurance related posts)
Dear Senator Williams,
I am a self employed injured worker. My ordeal has gone on nearly 10 years. My husband and I have just begun a new life in Queenscliff after having to sell our home and move from our beloved family, friends and community in Collingwood where we lived for 17 years.
I’ve experienced horrid treatment as an injured worker but the ultimate blow came when we had to sell our home because of an insurer excuse that to this day I still can’t really understand (neither can the Ombudsman, my lawyer or a friend’s contact working at the Vic Bar). I’m sure you will understand it and certainly the Ombudsman’s report, point 385 helped shed some light but unfortunately I’m still here without any compensation or treatment help and worst of all, my chronic pain continues.
I’m doing everything I can to live with my health issue and so is my husband – we’ve even started a new business that is completely customised to my abilities in the attempt we can work. Everything is on the line.
Below are all the posts I’ve written on my website. It’s the only way I felt I could communicate what was happening and help others in the process.
I’d happily speak up anywhere, anytime, and you are welcome to use any of the following information to argue the horrid experiences injured workers have had to bare.
From where I’m standing, you could never believe our Government has set up a system to support injured workers.
This very system that was established (apparently) for the injured worker is very well calculated and excruciating to navigate and whilst navigating it, the injured worker usually remains unfed and untreated.
If you’re an injured worker reading this – don’t ever declare a part time capacity until you’re sure you have a solid one.
Whichever way you look at the situation for injured workers, the equation always adds up to unnecessary, unfair and insensitive treatment.
While I wait for the Medical Panels to send me their decision, their faces, movements, questions and gestures swirl around my head and I try desperately to guess the outcome.
Even at 2am, I fail to guess. It should be simple to go to an appointment and explain your personal health status shouldn’t it? It’s simple for my pain team.
However it isn’t simple for the Medical Panel because it’s not an appointment, it’s an assessment – they’re not the same. From my experience, this assessment is a full blown investigation and that so severely changes the experience… and my heart rate. I doubt I need to state that this scenario changes my pain levels but if I do, head back to page 1 of this website and start reading again. Continue Reading
A never-ending feast in fact (if such food takes your fancy)!
It is the eve of my appointment at the Medical Panels. Tomorrow I will see the 12th lot of medical practitioners and the 8th lot of psychiatrists that I’ve had to see to obtain no less than four medical panel opinions.
If you haven’t come across my history, here, entertain yourself – it’s quite a few mouthfuls, even for a large dog!
To summarise the situation, my three medical panel opinions all ‘confirm’ that I have a Chronic Pain Disorder (no mention of neuropathic pain), that I have a total 0% whole person impairment, and that I have a limited capacity to work – and that will be the case for the rest of my life. They do not appear to have considered the diagnosis of pudendal neuralgia (which at least does attract an impairment rating).
This poor excuse for a diagnosis (Chronic Pain Disorder) not only awards me the whopping sum of $0 for my impairment lump sum, but also makes my two stimulation implants irrelevant to my supposed ‘psychological condition’. It allows the WorkSafe insurer to offer me a 10 month settlement on my first 93cd application and avoid paying me partial weekly wages for the rest of my life for reasons I’m yet to fully comprehend. Apparently it has something to do with payslips.
Theo called Worksafe again today seeking to find out the reason why the insurer didn’t accept my medical slips as recommended by the Conciliator (it had been three weeks since he heard the reassuring news – ‘I haven’t opened the email yet’). There was no answer forthcoming, other than the vague protocol response.
In a recent letter in response to our Worksafe complaint about the matter, I received this explanation:
‘In accordance with the Act, the matter was referred to the Medical Panel who provided an opinion on her medical condition and incapacity. (Insurer) accepted the opinion of the Medical Panel on the issues of the nature of her medical condition and her incapacity, however rejected the application on the basis of the value of Ms Mantalvanos’ earnings.’
Theo raised a fair question today:
Are we going back to the Medical Panel for adjudication of a financial matter?
‘Actively working with the community to deliver outstanding workplace safety and return to work, together with insurance protection.’
When speaking with a WorkSafe employee today it was made quite clear to me that Soula’s insurer is doing everything possible to delay potential reimbursements.
Yes, the WorkSafe employee agreed with me that the ‘hoops’ Soula is to jump through are all a waste of time, money and energy.
However, I was told to call back again in three months to see how they could help. What!?
When asked why I cannot be helped now, I was told that this is the way the system works and we have to go through the motions regardless that we both agreed it was a waste of time. (FYI. all your/our workcover premiums fund these meeting, interviews, medical visits)
The insurer has asked a financial question of us. We have answered it. The system however, says that Soula has to see a Medical Panel and 2 psychiatrists. Then she has to wait two months for their medical opinion before the insurer can focus on the financial question!
WorkSafe, you are not protecting our insurance rights, you are protecting the insurer!
In my current state of bewilderment, this may be the best way I can describe my life as it is today.
I shouldn’t bag a dog’s breakfast, as unlike that which the workers’ compensation system has dished out to me – a dog’s breakfast is nutritious, and dogs love eating it.
But the vision of pieces of food strewn apart, sliding about and sloppy, and pretty much dumped in a bowl destined to last a few seconds before it’s consumed without much thought or agenda, reminds me of what the system dishes out to me as an injured worker.
The system’s employees I’ve come into contact with lack any compassion, and all too often even some basic thought processes (i.e. common sense) appear to be absent. Their awareness of my predicament is shallow and their span of attention shorter than the time it takes a hungry dog to finish its breakfast.
I can imagine the bowl … I can see it all very clearly what it contains – a damn mess.
In technical terms I have outlined my current position within the system:
It’s been a huge few weeks for WorkSafe and injured workers in Victoria.
I’ve always encouraged anyone who contacted me with their frustrations and horrid experiences of being an injured worker in Victoria to call their Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman’s role, as it was explained to me, was to gather complaints and if/when the complaints amounted in one specific matter, the Ombudsman would have reason to report the complaints to our Government and possibly investigate.
After finally gathering myself from the last blow that left Theo and I having to sell our home and start all over again, I resubmitted a 93CD application (that’s an application for part payments). Actually Theo is managing the application as I was unable to navigate the trauma of it all again but I also couldn’t bring myself to accept the insurer and our Government had gobbled up my compensation. Both very difficult when you have a chronic health issue and when you feel you’re being responsible for it but the other parties are trying to bury you instead of help.
I’ve seen the ad, ‘getting back, we’ll get you back, it’s good to be back, get you back, nothing like getting back.’ Hogwash! No one tried to help me get back to work! Nor did they advise us as self employers either!
Worksafe promises alot when they take our insurance premiums.
So, we’ve sent, what’s called a 93CD application to the insurer accompanied with: Continue Reading
Big day for me today. Thank you to the Victorian Ombudsman and to all the injured workers who spoke up.
…Sadly too late – won’t bring our beautiful home and life back.
Act 3: Home lost to these vile insurer (and WorkSafe Victoria supported), unjust actions:
‘At interview, one former agent employee said that management placed pressure on staff to maintain decisions at conciliation and to not pay compensation past a certain date. This was to ensure the agent did not ‘breach’ their ‘targets’.
Read the article and full investigation, Investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight on the Victorian Ombudsman’s website
What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.
What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…
Pain Train my online health record
Imagine your specialist knew this much before your first appointment…