Guest Blog by Ruth Volpato
Effects of Insurer Examinations on Medical Assessments for Treatment
In preface, I am a Registered Nurse (retired) having dedicated the last 20 years of my career in working with motor vehicle accident victims with the goal of reaching maximum recovery and rehabilitation. My sole focus has been on the welfare of my clients. Those of you in the rehabilitation industry are aware of the numerous insurer examinations our clients have been faced with over the years. At this point in time, I am unaware if the insurance model has changed thus decreasing these examinations; however my article is to address the multitude of clients having gone before. If this pertains to current situations, it is hopeful this article will be of value.
In 2011, while working up to 12 hours per day for the improvement of my clients, I was involved in a major motor vehicle accident. My thoughts were, “I know how this works, I can handle this, I have been supporting my clients for almost 10 years … piece of cake”.
Wrong! I experienced firsthand the abruptness, the denials, questioning of my integrity, humiliation, frustration, anger, confusion and failure. The course of my involvement for my claim lasted almost 8 years. In that time I underwent scrutiny from my own insurance carrier, the insurance carriers of the other victims (3 in total), and their lawyers. Given the type of accident, I developed PTSD. However, as time progressed, the behaviour of my own insurer increased my PTSD ten-fold. To this day, I experience minimal effects of PTSD due to the accident. I experience moderate to severe effects of PTSD relative to my insurer.
The term PTSD relates to recurring thoughts of the trauma which can be triggered by similar situations, sounds, smells, senses. Over the years I have found these triggers occur when in any medical evaluation, assessment or consultation. These episodes make it very difficult to obtain the help I need by treating medical professionals and their teams. I become defensive, reticent to answer questions for fear of being ridiculed, question the reasons for their questions and provide limited data. All these reactions do not allow for a complete medical work up to enable helpful treatment.
When describing symptoms and their manifestations I become defensive which puts up a barrier for open communication. Even though I had been delivering guidance for my patients to be open when in treatment sessions, I failed to be able to do this for myself.
Now, when I am being assessed for treatment I have learned to indicate at the beginning of the session my difficulties in responding. I ask that they extend some latitude to allow me to become comfortable in their treating environment. I also bring someone with me as an anchor and a focal point should “the walls” start to manifest themselves.
I have written this missive to encourage open dialogue with patients, family, colleagues, medical professionals and clinical teams. As always, a return to maximum health and wellbeing is a priority involving everyone.
Ruth Volpato RN (Ret)