“In general, lost time is lost money to the average person. In turn, they have the time for the transposition of physical complaints for financial benefit. One patient referred to her amputation as “selling my body parts.” In some sense, this is a readily understood opportunity.”
Advertisers are well aware of their target market, and commercials during the weekday are directed towards the elderly or injured in a manner not utilized during prime time. The actively employed are unaware of this difference until they are housebound by an illness or injury. If they are not being bombarded by $19.99 sales of kitchen gadgets, they are being encouraged to pursue legal representation and opportunity for injuries and product liability claims.
When phrases such as “value of a claim” fell into common use, our focus was redirected from the experience of the patient to a monetary worth of injury. Ultimately, this impacts the way in which a patient sees his/her injury. Among the problems are:
1. Patient fears complaint resolution lowers the monetary recovery
2. Patient does not see release from care as a unilaterally positive event
3. Patient may see compliance with available alternative work as relinquishing the value of their claim
4. Patient may not be able to differentiate between the role of health care and the role of legal representation
5. Patient views the recovery as a financial loss which outweighs physical improvement
Once a patient begins to see physical losses as opportunity for
potential gains, and financial gains as counterproductive to financial recovery, rehabilitation efforts are impacted, if not stymied.
A patient should not feel forced by insurers or providers to work beyond their physical or emotional capacity. Neither should they be encouraged to deny their degree of recovery for financial gain. Unfortunately, neither influence is likely to change. It is “the system”.