Walters: Fraud 'Rampant' in State's Comp System
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 | 2258 | 10 | 40 min read
Fraud is rampant in California’s workers’ compensation system, Dan Walters wrote in a CalMatters column published Monday.
Walters opens his column by noting Santa Clara County prosecutors charged former Santa Clara police Officer Kenneth Henderson with faking an injury. And he notes that Henderson’s wife, Mandy Henderson, a former lieutenant in the county Sheriff’s Office, pleaded no contest to work comp fraud charges in 2019 for exaggerating an injury.
Having a husband and wife who both worked in law enforcement and are both prosecuted for the same crime is unusual, Walters writes. The former columnist for the Sacramento Bee also said he found it odd that the case involved people from Northern California.
“Fraud in California’s $20 billion a year system of supporting disabled workers is rampant, but the vast majority of it occurs in Southern California,” he writes.
Walters accuses “shady lawyers” of using “cappers” to find potential clients by asking people if they have any pain that could be connected to past employment. This results in cumulative trauma claims that can’t be tied to a specific event. Walters writes that “equally shady doctors” sign off on the claims.
The column cites two reports from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau. One study found that indicted providers in the Los Angeles area accounted for more than 90% of medical payments to all indicted providers in the state. The other found a higher percentage of cumulative trauma claims in the Los Angeles area compared to the rest of the state.
“Obviously, there’s big money in defrauding the system and it’s a factor in California’s employers paying the nation’s second-highest costs for workers’ compensation insurance, according to a biennial survey by Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, the widely accepted authority,” Walters concludes. “It also indirectly cheats those with legitimate work-related disabilities.”