Workers’ Compensation Process Stalls Woman’s Ketamine Pain Relief Bid (Yahoo News)

Workers’ Compensation Process Stalls Woman’s Ketamine Pain Relief Bid

Thursday, April 11th, 2024 Legislation & Regulation Life & Health Risk Management Workers' Compensation

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Judy Harvey’s life is overshadowed by the severe chronic pain resulting from a back injury sustained at work seven years ago. Despite undergoing three surgeries, Harvey’s condition, characterized by severe nerve damage, has only deteriorated, leaving her reliant on opioids that no longer ease her pain. Harvey sees a glimmer of hope in ketamine infusions, a treatment known for its potential to alleviate chronic pain significantly. However, her path to relief is obstructed by the bureaucratic processes of WorkplaceNL, the provincial body responsible for workers’ compensation.

Harvey’s initial application for the treatment was denied on the grounds that it was outside the program’s coverage, a decision that came as a devastating blow. Encouraged to reapply, she has since been caught in a limbo of uncertainty, with her second application pending for months. The delay is not just administrative but profoundly personal, affecting her quality of life and leaving her in a state of despair. WorkplaceNL has indicated that while some ketamine treatments have been approved within the province, Harvey’s preferred clinic in Halifax has not been previously covered. Alternatives within Newfoundland have prohibitive wait times, extending her agony.

The CEO of WorkplaceNL, without commenting on Harvey’s case specifically, pointed to procedural requirements and the need for comprehensive medical information as reasons for potential delays. Meanwhile, Harvey’s community has rallied around her, raising funds to enable her to pursue the treatment independently of the workers’ compensation process. This groundswell of support underscores the broader issue of accessibility and timeliness of care for workers injured on the job.

Harvey’s story is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by individuals navigating the workers’ compensation system, highlighting the need for more efficient processes that do not lose sight of the human element in bureaucratic procedures.

Claims Pages Staff Writers are dedicated professionals covering a broad spectrum of insurance topics, including auto, catastrophe, education & training, fraud, legislation, liability, life & health, litigation, property, risk management, technology, underwriting, and workers' compensation. With over 25 years of distribution, our publication brings you accurate and timely information to keep you informed and ahead in the claims industry.

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