Recently in Las Vegas, reporters described a scene of great excess: Thinly-clothed acrobats performing from ceiling swings, dancers in lingerie on poles shaking to the techno music, actors dressed as aliens looking for a photo op, a live alligator, rock stars performing, waitresses passing out free chocolate truffles and cocktails, designer handbag giveaways, free Hummer limousine rides and more.
These individuals were attending the National Workers’ Compensation Disability Conference Expo – one of about 150 such conferences held annually by the “middlemen” of workers’ compensation. These companies are hired by employers and insurance companies to conduct “cost containment” in workers’ compensation cases.
Services offered are varied, and include claim management and negotiation of medical bills. These firms promise to cut costs for all involved, but in reality, many say they are in fact increasing costs and worse, raising the burden of those who have been hurt at work.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to be straightforward. Worker gets hurt on-the-job. Worker receives immediate medical and wage benefits through the course of recovery. But these firms work to fight claims tooth-and-nail, reducing the amount workers receive – if they receive anything at all. They have culled networks of high-powered defense lawyers, expert medical opinion providers, medical bill review services, occupational medical clinics, labs that drug test injured workers and outside claims shops. Continue reading →