Injured Worker Meeting Yesterday

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Posted by John Lewis on March 08, 1999 at 12:19:49:

TIES and IWOP had a meeting yesterday afternoon. New members were welcomed and told us their stories of mistreatment in the Oregon Workers Compensation system. They had been given compromised medical treatment by some of the biggest insurance companies in Oregon, left with partial disabilities and told there was no "light duty" work for them. Sound familiar? All recruits were given information by IWOP and TIES to start networking with other injured workers in their hometowns.
We talked about the need for killing SB220, a SAIF and Liberty NW proposed bill being presented before MLAC which allows insurance companies to close claims w/out review by DCBS. While SB220 is anti-worker and poorly written, it is still vital to keep an eye on it. It may clear MLAC and head to the Senate this coming Friday 3/12/99 so if you want to let Kitzhaber's advisory committee know how you feel about SB220, fax them at 503-378-6444 and hopefully Bill Braly, the committee administrator, will make copies. (Which evidently depends on interpretations of Robert's Rules of Order.)
Next up, the GOOD bill proposals. HB2769 allows the injured worker the right to discuss his or her claim directly with a state worker, i.e. ombudsman or reconsideration reviewer.
The "1400" series by the WC Attorney Association are generally ok for workers. My feeling is that if it helps our attorneys, it helps us. Let your legislators know that there is some good stuff out there.
Sen. Gene Derfler (R) had an article published in the Portland Observer 2/24/99 entitled "WC Reform...Reducing on the Job Injuries and Deaths." Using selective statistics the wizened legislator crowed about how great WC is. He cited the example of having your thumb and a finger cut off and getting $61,000 v.$19,000 in 1989 as proof of how lucky we are. Of course he didn't mention that the "lucky" thumbless worker probably lost two years of work in getting to a settlement, was never retrained, used the money to get out of debt and is earning 50% less today than his pre-injury job.
Gene is the kinda guy that makes you want to run for Senator.
It's almost as if he has had a personal vendetta against workers for the last 25 years. I guess he had a hard go of it as a businessman once.
Chicken or Fish?
We then talked about the Injured Worker Picnic which will be coming up this summer. In addition to a BBQ,food donations and a press release we will set up a hedge row of ficus type plants for private investigators with cameras to record injured worker Billy Washington in the sack race and caber toss events.
That was a joke by the way.
That's it for now. see you at the next meeting.
John Lewis

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