Thursday, October 15, 2015

NO, THE GOVERNOR DID NOT AVOID A COLLISION IN HEALTH CARE POLICY


Governor Brown in his veto message of AB 1542 (Mathis & Cooley) said "this bill undermines the Division of Workers Compensation's authority ... when it determines eligible medical specialties ... that power resides with the physician's licensing board. If the Board of Psychology believes there is value in recognizing neuropsychology as a subspecialty, it should do so."

It turns out that the Governor knowingly acted on an incorrect opinion from the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and from Christine Baker in particular. It seemed lost on the Governor that AB 1542 was supported by the California Psychology Association and by the Board of Psychology. It was well known to Governor Brown, or should have been, that the Board of Psychology does not formally recognize or enfranchise subspecialties. However, the Board of Psychology does recognize the American Psychological Association (APA) of which it is a member. The subspecialty of clinical neuropsycholgy is in fact recognized by the the APA, a fact that the Governor, in his zeal to support Christine Baker, ignored. By his veto  Governor Brown evidently felt he was supporting "the Division of Workers Compensation's authority." Regrettably, the reverse is true now that NeuropsychologyQMEs have been relegated to the basement of medical and psychological evaluation and treatment for injured workers with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injured workers will no longer have the direct access to NeuropsychQME evaluation as they have had for the last 22 years. Employers will find that assigning TBI patients to appropriate return-to-duty status has just been made more difficult. Trades where head injuries are more common, e.g., construction, working at heights, or around heavy equipment, have just been made more risk laden by Governor Brown's arbitrary veto. 

By contrast Governor Brown signed AB 2127 (Cooley) last year so that high school athletes who sustain TBIs can get direct access to health care providers. These health care providers are supposed to be trained to recognize and evaluate concussions and TBIs. It looks like Gov. Brown feels that injured workers do not need the same access to first level responders as do high school athletes who get hurt playing football, or soccer. 

We understand that the underpinnings of the Governor's veto was his desire to support DIR Christine Baker and the Division of Workers Comp as seen through her eyes. What's too bad is that in this effort the injured workers who do construction and other risky jobs have been short-changed, actually, to put it bluntly, they've been torpedoed. 

To correct this egregious mistake, it would help if the Board of Psychology changed its policy to provide formal recognition to NeuropsychQMEs and if Mathis, Cooley, and others would reintroduce a revised version of AB 1542 in 2016.




8 comments:

  1. Hi Dr Weinmann..... THANK YOU!

    As a #WorkComp and #BrainInjury Survivor since January 2012, I applaud you!

    Shame on the Gov and Ms. Baker and all complicit in this disaster!

    I wrote a longer comment, but then it was too long, so I put it in a blog and shared it all over social media.

    May your insights be shared and discussed widely, in influential and in law enforcement circles! Thanks again! Cheers and Write on! Linda & Friends....


    PS: This blog contains excerpts of your blog, with other related issues... http://askaboutworkerscompgravytrains.com/2015/10/16/california-workers-torpedoed-again-bummer-what-has-the-governor-done-concussion-alerts/

    (incited by your blog, which came this morning.... and has had me spittin mad all day!) xoxox

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  2. Thanks. Linda! If there's going to be a next time, Big Labor needs to help. This time the California Professional Firefighters were in support and so were the Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The California Federation of Labor was silent. Among doctors, the California Medical Association was silent but the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (L206, AFSCME, AFL-CIO) was in support. You should call Art Pulaski at the California Federation of Labor -- he may be able to explain why his union did not support the injured workers on AB 1542 -- Robert L. Weinmann, Editor

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  3. Thanks Dr. Weinmann....I will make a point to check with Art Pulaski and the others. I come from a family of Firefighters.

    It's pretty challenging to fight these WorkCompsters with a brain injury, but I do my best! "Compensatory Strategies" with a "Brain Limp."

    I ask myself questions like, "What would Sun Tzu do?" and "What would Sophie Scholl do?"

    I might have to send a little note to Gov. Brown and ask "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!!"

    I think his people keep an eye on my LinkedIn posts and blogs, so he may already know how shocked and dismayed I am. The Gov and I are connected on LinkedIn.... so I might send him an inmail; he might be more inclined to see it.

    I think the State Controller also needs to be involved.....money is leaking out of this State like there's no tomorrow. What a waste of human life for the sake of the profits and greed of the few!

    Of course, I think DOJ and FBI need to intervene immediately in California to save the Working Class from further harm by WorkCompsters and their ilk. FBI suggested DOI needs to be involved. OMG! What's next!

    As to Ms. Baker, tsk, she seems so completely out of touch with the harsh realities Injured Workers face in this State, and elsewhere, I think she should step down immediately.

    I'm also very concerned about the WorkComp Commissioners and their staff. I have some quite unfriendly/unhelpful communications from them over the course. You name the agency, I've probably been in touch seeking help.


    PS I love the interview you did:
    "CA Workers Comp System and The State Of Injured Workers: Interview With Dr. Robert Weinmann"

    If I may, here's the link so that others might also see and share it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GQFdvOHqV4

    It makes the big picture points crystal clear...'to whom it may concern' . Injured Workers know; it's the rest of the peeps who need to be educated.

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  4. I do not understand why Gov. Brown would listen to someone who is not a medical expert, much less a brain injury expert like Christine Baker. She like so many other Worker compensation state employees are not licensed in anything medical and like so many others are pro insurance because that is their only background. It now appears that the insurance industry runs the California DIR/WCAB for sure. nChristine is not about helping injured workers as she is protecting her job and status. The CAL-FED betrayed union memebers a long time ago in the worker comp reforms. Art Pulaski is a split tongue devil, talking about WC for injured workers but yet sold union memebers/injured workers out many years ago. I don't know of any union that helps their injured workers other than refer them to an applicant attorney and it is sad that they represent all workers, union and non union, in the comp arena. Our legislators are supposed to care about all citizens of the state but clearly along with unions, they are business friendly only. A woman should be careful when approaching Art , he just might knock you over trying to get away from answering as to why he turned his back on all workers in the last reforms. The same goes for an applicant attorney who is on the WCAB board. I one cannot expect for them be civil in a simple Q&A, then how can we expect them to be pro injured worker?

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  5. Good tough questions, Dina! They need to be posed to the Governor who hid behind staff that was programmed to reject AB 1542. On the other hand, if Pulaski and the California Labor Fed wasn't interested, and if most of the local unions didn't pressure Cal Fed to support AB 1542, then the Gov had no political motivation to go against his long time political crony, Christine Baker. Notice also that Mathis and Cooley so far haven't tried to override the veto even though their bill passed both houses of the legislature without a negative vote. That tells us that there's more interest in not offending the Gov than in fighting tooth and nail for something they reportedly believed in. -- robert L. weinmann, editor

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