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Insurance industry chips away at rights of injured worker

The following is a guest post from attorney Jason Krasno of Philadelphia firm Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo.

A sacred tenet of American healthcare, reformed or otherwise, is the ability to choose your own doctor. That privilege is generally upheld … unless, of course, you’re an injured worker.

In my state, Pennsylvania, as well as elsewhere throughout the country, insurance companies have brazenly inserted themselves into a role traditionally reserved for physicians. By law, they’re for some reason empowered to assign their handpicked doctors to workers who are injured on the job and supposedly protected by workers’ compensation.

Workers are legally captive to these insurance doctors for 90 to 180 days in my state, and there are constant rumblings about imminent bids to extend that captive period. There are also attempts in the works to curb the effect of second medical opinions sought by the injured worker. If the insurance companies had it their way, they (in league with Republicans) would make insurance doctors the final arbiter of patient “care.”

(Yes, I said insurance doctors. Talk about oxymorons. Imagine having your herniated disc diagnosed as a garden variety back strain.)

As part of this insurance industry healthcare grab, insurance companies have managed to become legally empowered to determine which pharmacies an injured worker can patronize. They can also veto prescriptions that are written for workers by personal physicians in the rare case a worker can afford one.

Why isn’t this erosion of workers’ rights a front-page issue?

Well, the workers most likely to be injured aren’t always the most glamorous or powerful. They’re not go-to sources for the media, and they don’t have talking heads ready to go on camera on their behalf. Rather, they put their heads down, grab their lunch pails and build America’s roads, bridges, schools and monuments every day.

Then they get shafted. We live in America, home of the free. But if you’re injured at work, insurance companies swarm in to protect their profits on your back. What does that say?

I’ve dedicated my legal career to fighting against these insidious forces and for these injured workers. I’m joined by a few medical providers of conscience such as Summit Pharmacy, which freely provides physician-prescribed medication to injured workers who can’t get it through workers’ comp.

I challenge legislatures in my state and across the country to reform workers’ compensation in a way that fairly serves the very people the program is named for, the ones who put their health and lives on the line in our country’s riskiest industries. Do right by the injured worker, and you’ll put me out of business.

Jason Krasno, Esq.
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo
Philadelphia, PA