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Getting Womped - What's Wrong with Comp Part 1

Saturday, November 8, 2003 | 1016 | 0 | min read

Every once in a while, someone writes in to the workcompcentral editorial office with a question or opinion, and sometimes, as in this case, what is submitted originally as just someone's thoughts on a topic in fact is expressive of a population's collective feelings. Henry W. Coe Jr., an injured worker from Pensacola, Florida, expressed his feelings in a recent mailing to our editorial offices. We thought it was a clear and lucid expression of what many injured workers feel. Mr. Coe was kind enough to grant us permission to publish his piece. This is the first in a two part series.

It takes people talking to make change and there are some definite changes that need made when it comes to work comp and the insurance industry in relation to Florida laws.

I think we should contract the words" work comp" down to one word. The new word is "Womp." I feel really womped spending the last 14 months in a separate health care system restrained by a separate judicial system. It is like an alternate universe.

I think I should specify who my focus is on when it comes to Womp. Probably some 80% of Womp cases are your bruises or breaks, burns, small stuff. Most folks go to the Womp window at the doctors office or clinic and if you're hurt bad enough or if it's your back they ask if you have an attorney before they ask how you feel. Those 80% folks get back to work with in a week to two months and they are good to go and its forgotten.

There is a smaller number of people that are really life altering hurt. These are my people. These are the people that need Womp to be fixed. They could be you or your kids one day. I don't want anyone to get hurt and then find out how bad this is or can be. I'm sure there are some that get through it and get treatment needed in a timely manner. I have never heard of one, but it's a nice thought.

I researched the problems with the laws regarding insurance when I had my autoglass companies. I was loosing business because of how the insurance industry restructured in the 1990s. In 1994 there where changes made that created all these preferred provider networks. The insurance industry learned how to manipulate the system with the medical field and carried it over to everyone else in business that gets a check from an insurance company. That's why I came up with the logo of "Keep it local, Keep it fast, let us repair your autoglass" in March of 99. I had to market my business in such a way that the customer should call me first. Then I would conference in the call with the insurance company.

There are plenty of people in the community that when they called their insurance company, they are directed them toward a certain business. Just like Womp does. I scheduled jobs and ordered parts and then the customer would tell me the insurance company said we weren't on some mythical pre-approved price list. So, if there were extra charges the customer would have to pay. I hated that. The same insurance company at the same time would have advised what they considered fair market value was.

I never had extra charges. But all this stuff created extra advertising and administrative needs for my business. It kept me from being productive and was hard on cash flow. Not to mention that it happened a lot.

Rather than waking up to a world of resentments of a system I couldn't change. I decided I'd had enough and made a career change. Three months into that career change is when I received the herniated disk. It didn't take long for all the resentments I had about the insurance industry and Florida law to come back.

I have been searching the statutes for a long time trying to find the magic one that will help me. I'm still looking. It's like reading a bad book and hoping it will get better.

When it comes to Womp or an HMO (HMO= Womplite) the biggest problem is that people are suffering. Like with me, because I hadn't received surgery earlier I believe, based on my research, that I am going to have permanent nerve damage.

I don't know what the answers are, but I know it all needs to be addressed and our laws need to reflect what the people want and we should decide how the insurance industry can operate in our state. We have a year to make some choices before the next election and I recommend that we "Rock the Vote" in 2004 regarding all health care and get rid of the demographics.

I would like to see a bill passed called the COE bill (care of everyone). Where doctors can take care of patients without being micro managed in waiting for authorizations. Where there is less administrative burden to business so they can take care of customers or patients without the red tape and without restricting free trade in the market.

I have a unique perspective on the problems related to Womp from my experience in dealing with the insurance industry and the things I learn regarding Florida laws when I had my autoglass replacement companies.

In the next article in this two piece series, Henry explores in more detail his specific medical issue and the treatment, or lack of treatment, he received in the Florida workers' compensation system.

Article by Henry W. Coe Jr. of Pensacola, FL. He can be reached at Hwcoe@aol.com.


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