Recently I have received criticism that I am blaming the system, specifically the insurers/claims agents, for poor outcomes and not directing any criticisms towards other parties, particularly the medical profession (or injured workers themselves for that matter).
The purpose of this blog is to highlight an issue of personal concern to me i.e. that there is unnecessary collateral damage to injured worker’s health from the system that manages claims. This has come about through my experiences as a doctor on the ‘front-line’ following the progress of injured workers in the local compensation systems within which I work.
It is unsurprising, if insurers or claims agents are responsible for administering the system, that my blog might be seen as critical of them. While I have been critical of some practices by insurers and claims agents, my view is that these practices are encouraged by the system itself. My intention is to be constructive with a focus on system redesign, rather than the ‘blame game’.
At present, I also have the role as Convenor of the Tasmanian AMA’s Workers Compensation Reform Committee. I also convene the meetings between that committee and representatives of the insurers in Tasmania (The AMA – Insurer Forum). While there is an overlap in the issues between those of personal concern to me, as expressed in my Blog and those of the medical profession more generally (as represented by AMA Tasmania), the AMA Committee has a much broader focus.
The title of the AMA presentation to insurers about issues of concern to the medical profession was ‘A Question of Balance’. There has been as much recognition of the need to change the approach by doctors to managing work-related injury as changes by insurers. I believe those who are informed within the medical profession do recognise the need to have greater input into the workers compensation system, with doctors taking more responsibility for outcomes.
This blog does focus on a narrower range of issues that I think are relatively misunderstood, but I do not suggest that there are not a broader range of factors relevant to the effectiveness of our compensation systems.
This blog does not represent the views of the AMA, just my own!