Injured workers often have a need to discuss their visits to their physicians. They will telephone those whom they feel serve an advocate role and will call for several reasons:
1. The most common is the feeling that their central problem is not being addressed by their authorized treating physician. They do not organize their thoughts or present their concerns clearly to the physician. Their questions arise afterward after reflecting upon their disappointment with the visit. They then want a second chance, to go back and re-do that appointment, yet they know this chance may not occur for 1-3 months.
2. Other patients will call because they are dependent and need to see someone as their protector.
3. Still others are openly suspicious of the motives of those involved in their healthcare, and inaccurately perceive that “these doctors could care less and are are making a killing off of me”.
All three of these reasons commonly result in seeking legal representation. Yet, many patients do not initially realize that this step precludes them from talking to their adjustor . Inadvertently, they have removed themselves from access and find that their attorney or paralegal cannot comfort them either. Often because they are truly confused and inconsolable.
This is when many patients, basically honest individuals, will alter the data they give to those involved in their care. This may not be intentional misrepresentation, but more a desire to continue receiving emotional support. They shape their complaints in a way that encourages compassion from those involved in their health and legal care.
The bottomline is that patients call because they are uneasy, either about how they handled their appointment, or how the they perceive their physician sees them. Nurse case managers are the obvious and useful buffer for these patients if are able to invest trust and if that trust is well-founded.