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Wisconsin workers' compensation: Is the system broken?

Millions of people,including a large number here in Wisconsin, are injured at work each year. At least some of those people are left with some sort of chronic pain that the workers' compensation system fails to adequately resolve. Unfortunately, many workers' compensation systems seem to end up being more of a legal system rather than a medical one.

The way most systems work, when a patient is injured at work, they are told where to go for treatment, what types of treatment they will receive and even how much treatment they will receive. Admittedly, for some people, the issue may be resolved easily under this system, but for others, it can begin a cycle of frustration, dehumanization and chronic pain. Part of the problem may be that there is a significant amount of administrative red-tape that patients have to wade through.

Chronic pain is a big problem in our country. Nearly 100 million people in our country experience some type of chronic pain; that is significantly more than the number of cancer and heart disease patients. An astounding $635 million dollars is spent each year on medical treatments and time missed from work due to chronic pain. As a matter of fact, this is one of the conditions that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been tasked with investigating by the Affordable Care Act.

Anytime an employee in Wisconsin is injured at work, they are put into the legal quagmire that is the workers' compensation system. The way the system is currently, it can either help or hinder an employee's recovery. Many people aren't sure how to maneuver through the system in order to get the most out of the benefits they are given. It may be beneficial for injured employees to seek out information regarding the workers' compensation system and its benefits in order to ensure that he or she is receiving the best care and assistance possible from the system.

Source: Huffington Post, Injured and Hurting: Time to Fix How We Treat Pain on the Job, Peter Abaci, M.D., Sept. 4, 2013

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