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Case Management Society of Australia… are WorkSafe Agents complying?


What would injured Australian workers do without the wonderful WorkCoverVictim’sDiary website, who alerted me to the Case Management Society of Australia (amongst some other goodies like ‘the Deed’ between WorkCover and all the Suppliers of delivery of the System!!! and The Ombudsman’s report that shows the many breaches… hello, hello!).

But back to my point…I’m relieved there is an organisation such as this.

However, after looking through the site, I still don’t understand how my WorkSafe Agent gets away with treating me so poorly. These two points as outlined in the CMSA Ethical Principals Document are not part of my WorkSafe Agent’s policy!

The Case Manager will respect peoples right to be an individual and refrain from value judgements
The Case Manager will consider the best interests of the client as paramount at all times

In the last point, is the ‘client’ the injured worker or WorkSafe? From my experience, it’s clearly WorkSafe and when it comes to this ethical standard, my case managers are right on the money! No treatment for me, more dollars for WorkSafe.

For more information visit the Case Management Society of Australia website.
A non-profit organisation dedicated to the support and development of the practice of quality Case Management.

Published and about to be heard!


Thank you Graphis, The International Journal
of Visual Communication, for publishing my political poster.

Australia’s WorkSafe system needs a serious update for the sake of Employers, Workers and Tax Payers.
I’m hoping to get enough views to be published in the Graphis Annual and send a personally signed copy to our WorkSafe Minister.

Hit the link below to support me.
Graphis / Public Viewing | Social/Political Posters

WorkSafe's Birdcage System

Victorian Government: Don’t raid WorkSafe’s surplus


Victorian Government: Don’t raid WorkSafe’s surplus

Why This Is Important

The WorkSafe surplus is under threat from the Victorian Government. Premier Ted Baillieu wants to rip out $471.5 million over four years from the WorkCover Authority, known as WorkSafe, so he can balance the State Budget.
WorkSafe administers WorkCover for Victorian workers. A reduction in funds is bad for workers and bad for Victoria. This is an unprecedented move. The WorkSafe surplus should be used to ensure our workplaces are safe, injured workers are compensated fairly, and that employers’ premiums are as low as possible.

The WorkSafe surplus is not there to be plundered by a Government that is having trouble balancing its budget, it is there to make our workplaces safe and fairly compensate workers if there are injured.
Maurice Blackburn has been looking out for the best interests of injured workers for more than 90 years. We’ve started this petition to send a strong message to the Victorian Government: don’t raid the WorkSafe surplus.

Read more, sign the petition: www.change.org

I signed it:

I can’t believe Ted Baillieu found one more way to make the system worse than it already is! How about ‘ripping’ out shonky investigations and shonky Independent Medical Examiners, you’d gain more than 471.5 million!

Dragon Dictate


How great is this?

Dragon Dictate

Talk to your phone and your computer responds with commands (comma), better still, it types for you (exclamation mark exclamation mark)!! That’s right, I’m lying down now and speaking to my phone and I can see my cursor moving and my words appearing (full stop). Very happy (comma), thank you Dragon Dictate (full stop).

(Category colon Learn Professional Resources Publish)

Diary of a workcover victim


Diary Of A Workcover Victim BlogI came across this site just today! Congratulations guys on giving injured Australian workers such support, and above all, a voice.


A Diary of a WorkCover Victim- kick-started by “Workcovervictim”- has been designed and developed by a bunch of seriously injured workcover victims (and their families) who have-unfortunately- been dealing with workcover for too many years…

Aims of this blog:

  • To provide information, education and referral advice for injured workcover victims. Knowledge is our only defense!
  • To facilitate sharing of experiences of injured workcover victims
  • To expose the workcover insurer frauds, scams and dirty tactics
  • To exchange and share useful tips and tricks with fellow workcover victims
  • To offer a place where injured workcover victims (and TAC victims) are welcome, loved, respected, understood and where they can find a sense of belonging; a place where they can speak their minds, seek and offer support and where they can hopefully find a little comfort, a bit of a laugh, a dose of courage and some strength to continue their endless battles for their lawful entitlements, so often wrongfully denied
  • To advocate improved rights and benefits for injured workcover victims.
  • To offer a bit of a “venting” place for those injured workers, who – like me – are sick and tired and frustrated with the whole, unfair, hair-raising, mind-numbing, rotten workcover system

Read more (better still, contribute or help someone contribute their story)…

Read about Erin Brokovich’s visit to A WorkCover Victim

‘Chronic Pain Disorder’ medical panel opinion?


(For a further update on this issue please read Expired and fallen through the cracks)

What does it mean? Well, I’m struggling to get a clear understanding to be honest, even after being stamped with the ‘condition’ and living with it (apparently) for almost 5 years. To date, it seems to have panned out as psychological condition, gynecological condition, we don’t have to pay anymore medical expenses, blank stares, you can refer the matter to court, (and on and on it pathetically goes).

Let me explain myself further (and hopefully I might inspire some wonderful WorkCover specialist to shed some light), here I go:

From what I’ve gathered Chronic Pain Disorder basically means big general pain bucket and, its time to update the Wrongs Act 1958. And I’m stating very obvious information here because our Government has missed a very small detail… its 2012!!! So let me clear my throat… I’m going to have to make it loud… uuuuhuuuum:

Hello, anyone out there? If you are, it’s time to update the Wrongs Act of 1958 and the AMA Guidelines (1990s). Injured workers have injuries that can be addressed more appropriately, giving them a greater chance of getting back to work and lessening instances of permanent damage if the practitioners in the system can identify and use current information.

So what am I saying (and I speak from my own experience obviously)?

After my 130 week payment termination (how convenient for an injured worker to have no income during this time!!! Oh whoops, sorry, I should mention I did have the option to go to Centrelink), I attended Conciliation to dispute this termination of payments and from there was forwarded on for assessment to the Medical Panels (Medical Panels are constituted pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 and the Wrongs Act 1958 as stated on the website). I was assessed as having a Chronic Pain Disorder, basically, there is no specification for Neuropathic/Peripheral pain, or Neuralgia let alone any specific Pudendal Nerve issues or associated medical term so I was dumped in the big general pain bucket.

(At this point I’d like to break down the chronic pain disorder meaning even further. From my injured-worker-who-is-requiring-support-and-proper-treatment perspective this ‘opinion’ also means: we don’t know anything about back pain, we are not up to date, we don’t care about being up to date, too hard basket, vague, we can see you’re in pain – this’ll do)

So after gaining this vague label (and this is the second one because your WorkCover case number provides the first!), every decision the WorkSafe Agent and associated bodies, made since (or didn’t) stemmed from this opinion. So my follow up Independent* Medical Assessments (IMEs) were with Orthopedic Surgeons and Psychiatrists and yes, you guessed it if you’ve read through quite a bit of this site, they found no injury. Did anyone refer me on to a Neurologist? No. (Did I ask, yes, was I ignored, obviously or perhaps I was caught up in another case manager change over). Did any practitioner really look into my issue? No. They followed the big general pain bucket style, I was thrown in again and again.

However, some medical expenses support continued and also my weekly entitlements. Until last year that is. Firstly, the request for my wonderful, reviving peripheral stimulation device was ignored so I had to seek an answer through the Conciliation process (and yes of course my surgeon and I requested permission but as if I was going to wait 1 year for the faffing around, so I would like to take this opportunity and thank my private health insurer for paying 90% of the costs and continues to be my main medical support through my biggest progress period), and also, some massage reimbursements that suddenly died off too. Shortly after this, all remaining medical expenses were terminated leaving me with $zilch therapy support! In my letter I was told the decision was based on my ‘last’ Independent Medical Examinations (IME’s). What’s strange about that is the referred reports were exactly like all previous IME’s and I had been receiving medical expenses after those reports. This termination letter was quite sudden… out of the blue. It even ignored the most recent report that was due to come from an IME, a Psychiatrist** but had not yet been sent to the WorkSafe Agent or myself, not that it would have made a difference as the psych reports all say I’m fit for duty but it adds to the my point of poor support from this system, and makes me question the far from WorkSafe protocol of asking for a report and not using it. The decision to terminate medical expenses had obviously been made and I have no idea why and never will.

But. I have a hunch why this may have happened suddenly, and here my big general pain bucket opinion reappears. During Conciliation for the above mentioned two disputes (unpaid reimbursements, and seeking a response for the request of my stimulation device), the definition of my ‘Chronic Pain Disorder’ suddenly transformed and became a ‘Psychological Condition’. Apparently, this particular Conciliator thought that for some time, my WorkSafe Agent had it wrong and I was not meant to be having massage treatments or physiotherapy for a ‘Chronic Pain Disorder’ because it was a ‘Psychological condition’ (yes I know I’m repeating myself but that’s the way it was told, and actually repeated again, and again…).

My stomach turned when my Conciliator looked at my WorkSafe Agent representative and in a curious, happy manner said, that’s a fight for another day and continued on to resolve the mistaken unpaid reimbursements and to seek an answer in relation to my request for the stimulation device. At the time I didn’t understand it (and couldn’t for the life of me think of what might be funny either) and nor did I understand later when I spoke to this Conciliator on the phone and he repeated yet again, that I had a ‘Psychological condition’ and even added his confusion as to how a stimulation device can treat a… yes, he said it again, a ‘Psychological condition’. No where did my WorkSafe Agent or the Conciliator, dispute having paid my Neurosurgeon’s appointments???? I won the dispute for my massage reimbursements on account my Insurer was ‘honouring’ their having paid them previously but I was firmly told there would be no more massage treatments or therapy support and certainly no stimulation reimbursement. They were however continuing my General Practitioner and Neurologist’s appointments (but not treatment, get it? Neither do I!)

And the fight for another day? It came. I disputed the final decision made by the WorkSafe Agent to refuse reimbursement for my stimulation device and also tried to dispute the medical expenses termination. I didn’t get very far. Even though I had a professional Conciliator this time, my only choices were to go back to the Medical Panel for reassessment (yes, head back to 1958 and the 90’s!) or I was offered the choice of taking my WorkSafe Agent to Federal court.

My point.

Accurate diagnosis is critical to an injured worker’s support and chances of recovery. That’s impossible if our System uses the Wrongs Act 1958, the 20 year expired AMA Guidelines and unprofessional and uneducated employees.


So, now I have a brilliant stimulation device implanted, it revived me and gave me the ability to research my issue and that led me to a Chronic Pelvic Pain Physiotherapist, in the General Public system (that’s right, so she’s free), who finally diagnosed me correctly (and you may have guessed I don’t have a psych condition, pain disorder, or Gyneocological condition!). I’m currently having treatment and begun to make some progress, which is giving me hope that soon I might be able to work part time again. My WorkSafe Agent has not contributed to any of the effective treatment and worse still, doesn’t even want to know about it. Of course I tried, the first thing I did when I was diagnosed was call my (passing through at the time) Case Manager to tell him my exciting news and provide the WorkSafe Agent with my Physiotherapist’s details in order to help other injured workers. In one phone call I got the following details:

  • My Neurosurgeon didn’t know how to write reports in order to get me reimbursement for my implant,
  • WorkSafe don’t want to be seen paying for implants,
  • Why would they call the Physiotherapist when she was not treating me for my work injury (back to ‘Psychological Condition’),
  • You have a ‘Gynecological Condition’ (!!!!).

I wrote to our WorkCover Minister.

And please, once again, anyone from anywhere in the system, if I have any of this information wrong or misunderstood, please make a comment. Clarify some detail, answer my queries, give injured workers some hope.

* Read my definition of independent
** I have learnt not to read the reports from ‘IME’s’ especially Psychiatrists as the awful assumptions, judgements and pathetic template style assessment really bothers me, but my husband read this particular report (when it finally arrived months after my termination decision was made) and had to share one bit of information. I was described as tall! I’m 157cm!!!!????… no, not so tall no matter how much I stretch!!

Just a little paperwork!


WorkCover paperworkQuite a pile hey? I’m impressed myself, it’s alot of documentation! In actual fact my husband has to pull these out when we need some ‘reference’ because they’re so heavy.  And there’s so much more correspondence that I’ve received via email too, haven’t printed that off! One day I’m going to make a great, big collage out of this pile (Eureka!). Thought about the bonfire but doesn’t work in this case. It’s something that needs to be seen to be believed. To be honest I look at it and admire my survival tactics.

Oh sorry, got carried away, you don’t know what this is? Oh come on, take a stab! A life time of bills? Bank statements over the last 20 years? What could possibly need five folders and cost a few trees? Why on earth would I have to document anything this much, what would terrify me, cause me to watch my back, leave me feeling I need to record to this extent, who can I distrust this much?

It’s my WorkCover related paperwork of course…  well most of it, since March 1, 2007. It roughly works out to one folder per year.


Funniest of all…


…is that most employees and associates (practitioners included) I’ve met through the WorkCover system have a rude assuming attitude. They never treat me like I want my life back, that I want to be healthy, working and able again. I truly think WorkSafe agents are convinced this payroll is actually attractive (that’s my favorite!), that their practitioners (who agree to consult without having to advise patients at the end of a visit) are better for me than my own. They never stop to think that an injured worker hates to have to tell their friends and family they are relying on the system’s ‘support’, that I might be in pain all day every day, they never speak to me like I’m a human being. And, they keep insisting that there are many Australian workers that want to be ‘on the system‘, or as put especially for me, ‘how many Australian’s want to shut their businesses down and live off the Government’s money‘.

I wonder where this comes from, are the WorkSafe agent employees trained to think that anyone on their payroll is dodgy? It certainly might explain why no one is compassionate, no one is empathetic, no one seems to understand, no one can answer a question appropriately, no one can make things happen for you, no one is interested (staff are here today gone tomorrow), all you get is lies, lies, lies or no answer, irrelevant treatment and judgement.

Are there Australian workers out there really happy to be home and on the Government payroll? If so, how many, and can we have these stats (actually everyone ‘on the system’ must be assumed shonky, otherwise our doctor’s opinions would be valid).

My, not-so-funny point is, I’m appalled that the system treats me this way and my case can’t be addressed appropriately and relative to my endless efforts to restore my health and get back to work. Rather, it seems to aim to make it difficult so that I’m pushed to give up my entitlements, or sadly, and more damaging still, remain wrapped up in the endless battles for the support I’m entitled too.

Not so funny really…

Straight from the horses mouth


When I wrote to our minister and explained my frustration, in particular with the dumping of my medical expense support for the very treatments that I believe will finally get me back to work, he addressed the matter by having the Victorian WorkCover Authority (the very system causing the problem), investigate the matter.

The letter ended with:

As this matter is currently going through the dispute resolution process provided by the Act, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the specifics of your claim.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and I hope this information clarifies the matter for you.”

But, the Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips was grateful that I took the matter to him, (you can’t imagine what a difference this makes for me). He did look in to the matter within its glorious limits, he took note, he responded and stated everything I already knew. Brilliant!!

And you know the biggest irony… was that my email to Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips was sent October 12 and my reply arrived on the 7th of December… just as I arrived home from hospital having had two cortisone shots in my sacroiliac joints and two pudendal nerve blocks that once again, my wonderful private health insurer covered for me!

Hello? I mean, really? Pleeeeaaaaseee, are the WorkCover Gods shi…..ing me here?



Of course I didn’t leave it there, I replied:

Dear Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips,
I’m writing in response to your reply letter about my email and WorkCover issues. I won’t continue with the issue after this, but I felt I had to respond to a pretty poor reply.

There was never any point in going to the very system I was complaining about and asking about my case, I know all the details you outlined. I can honestly say I know the system better than you probably do. What upsets me most though is that I am labelled with a ‘complex case’. Its made complex by the WorkCover system, and not my actual condition (chasing our tails now aren’t we?) and that’s what the point of my letter was. Quite clearly, I fell and have pelvic chronic pain, and have had and am continuing to have, treatment for it. In fact it was ironic your letter arrived on the afternoon of my return from hospital (2 cortisone shots and 2 nerve blocks in the pelvic area).

In any case, you have clarified my vision of the system: it suits our Government when an injured worker, possibly unable to ever return to work (and pay their taxes), gives up fighting for their entitlements. The case becomes ‘complex’ but really the complexity is derived from the loopholes WorkSafe agents have to escape their responsibilities. As they probably will with me.

Just one more thing. As I mentioned in the first email I am putting a website together outlining my experience with my accident, treatment, and as an Australian injured worker. I just want to let you know I will be including our correspondence with a link to your web page. As you mentioned, I think its important that any matters such as these are brought to your attention.

Soula Mantalvanos

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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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