Letter: Workers' comp system needs repairs
I read Bryan Klipfel's letter praising the diligent, proper and timely work being done at Workforce Safety and Insurance. Mr. Klipfel claims that WSI pushed for and received increased benefits for injured workers and their families and is still looking for ways to improve its programs and services.
During the 2009 legislative session, bills were introduced which would have improved the lives of injured workers and their families by eliminating the two-year cap on disability benefits, eliminating the penalty on disabled workers who reach retirement age and forcing WSI to use North Dakota doctors. WSI fought each of these proposals and they were all killed.
No doubt Mr. Klipfel is a good man, who knows next to nothing about workers' comp in North Dakota. He gets his advice from the same WSI employees who advised Sandy Blunt, the former WSI director and current felon. Has the number of claim denials gone down? Has the number of disabled workers who replace their pre-injury wage gone up? How many threats does WSI receive each and every week from the very same injured workers and their families Mr. Klipfel claims to be helping?
Last November, the voters returned WSI to the governor's control. It was a good start. Until we see real change, not lip service, WSI will continue to wear a badge of shame.
It's past time for interested citizens to repair a broken workers' comp system. I urge everyone to contact the Injured Workers Support Group at ndworkcomp firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newman K. Power, Ray