PRI was formed by state medical societies, in part, to address the bias of insurance funded research studies being used to influence public policy throughout the United States. PRI believes the best way to insure that it is not guilty of similar bias is to reference research and journalism by truly independent groups which reaches the same conclusions as PRI.
Pro Publica (www.propublica.org) is an independent nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. It, along with National Public Radio (NPR), published an extensive series on the corporate and insurance company led campaign to eviscerate state workers’ compensation laws. Two of these articles are highlighted below and confirm PRI’s position that these “reforms” often start with restrictions on a treating physician’s clinical autonomy.
About a hundred years ago, the current workers’ compensation system was created. Injured workers gave up their right to sue negligent employers for substandard work conditions in exchange for a compensation system that covered their medical bills and lost wages. The system has worked well for both employers and workers by providing reasonable compensation and stable premiums. However, within the last 10 years, workers’ compensation insurers have initiated legislative initiatives to restrict workers’ rights and limit the treatment options of doctors. These efforts have been remarkably successful, often as the result of limited opposition. However, these efforts have now been spotlighted by Pro Publica and, it is hoped, that the insurance companies’ legislative victory streak is now over (see box below).
One development in the workers’ compensation world has been the recent emergence of companies designed to reduce claims payouts by aggressive review and denial of proposed medical therapy. These companies are a hidden cancer in the workers’ compensation world, enriching themselves and their client insurance companies at the expense of injured workers (see box below).