Enacted in 1980 the Medicare Secondary Payment Act has had major enforcement problems and Medicare has continued to bleed dollars. Struggling with the issue and after major reports of a failing system, Medicare in 2001 issued the famous Patel Memorandum establishing a system where the workers’ compensation industry would be required to obtain Medicare consent before future medical benefits could be compromised. Medicare also established a recovery program from benefits that were paid in the past and actually the responsibility of the workers’ compensation system.
Plagued by the multiple network of workers’ compensation programs and reluctant players in the system to provide data, Medicare has struggled to establish a efficient program. Attorneys, claimants, insurance carriers and the agencies themselves have been reluctant to provide information to Medicare and in turn Medicare has had to seek information through convoluted reporting procedures.
A stagnating system has caused those in the workers’ compensation industry to complaint that that the process is too slow and that the workers’ compensation has been placed on life support systems. Additionally, the major stakeholders in the system, the insurance carriers and the employers have made failed attempts to cut Medicare off at the knees by eliminating and reducing the past due recoveries and the potential future medical payments.
The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 requires workers’ compensation carriers to submit information to Medicare on a schedule and in a format prescribed by the Federal government or be subject to a $1,000 a day fine for each violation.”
Herndon Trial Lawyer Doug Landau is a member of a number of organizations that support and lobby for injured workers’ rights, such as the American Association for Justice (AAJ); the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ); the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA); and, WILG, the Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group. While it is not a requirement to being included in “The Best Lawyers in America” or being one of the handful of “Super Lawyers,” Landau feels that it is important that trial lawyers and workers compensation claimants’ representatives support the groups that are effectively looking out for the workers and their families. Too many lawyers who claim they are for “the little guy” do not belong to these groups and do not support victims’ rights organizations with their time, effort or money. Virginia Trial Lawyer Doug Landau says that these pretenders, “Talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. There are plenty of well-funded lobbies and special interests groups that do the bidding of the insurance industry and the large corporations. But most people do not think that they will be the victims of a workplace accident or disabled due to some dangerous product or negligent person” WILG is the national non-profit membership organization dedicated to representing the interests of millions of workers and their families who, each year, suffer the consequences of workplace injuries and illnesses. At the Landau Law Shop, we support the work of WILG, AAJ, TLPJ, VTLA and other organizations (such as the Virginia and Southern Poverty Law Centers, Northern Virginia Legal Services, the Alexandria Bar Foundation, NOSSCR, etc.) by teaching, contributing, taskforcing, lobbying, writing and educating.