E-mail on Workers’ Compensation Draws Criticism
A lawyer in a June 26 e-mail to doctors who evaluate injured workers wrote that a workers' compensation attorneys association had "taken a pact to NOT support" doctors who do not contribute "at least $2,500" to a campaign against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the Los Angeles Times reports. The e-mail, by attorney Lawrence Stern, calls for donations to "help us get rid of Arnold."
Schwarzenegger in 2004 signed legislation modifying the state workers' compensation insurance system. The reforms led to reduced premiums for businesses, but labor unions have criticized the law.
Stern sent the message last month to a public relations consultant for 15 workers' compensation physicians who subsequently faxed the message to the doctors on June 28. The consultant included in the fax a note saying, "I feel it is my job to send this to you and encourage you to contribute to the Angelides campaign."
David Rockwell -- president of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association, which represents workers' compensation lawyers -- called the communications "totally unacceptable" and said the association has no policy to force doctors to make campaign contributions. "Pressuring doctors involved in the workers' compensation system compromises the impartiality of medical experts," Rockwell said.
The Division of Workers' Compensation on Thursday posted a notice on its Web site saying "it is neither ethical nor proper to attempt to coerce medical providers."
Nick Papas, a spokesperson for the campaign for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides, said there was no connection between Angelides and Stern's e-mail (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 7/21).