Injured Worker Testimony
INTERIM COMMITTEE TO STUDY ISSUES RELATED TO PINNACOL ASSURANCE
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01:30 PM -- Injured Worker Testimony
The following people testified on injuries they sustained at work and the care they received from Pinnacol through the workers compensation system:
01:31 PM -- Sergeant James Brand, of the Mountain Village Police Department, described hearing loss resulting from not using ear plugs while on the firing range during training. He responded to questions from the committee.
01:42 PM -- Radean Hahn described her injuries sustained in 2007. She was declared maximum medical improvement (MMI), but eventually returned to work.
01:51 PM -- Carolyn Kelly-Gray described injuries her husband, James Gray, sustained in 2007 as a truck driver at a concrete construction plant. She also described subsequent injuries sustained when he went back to work while still recovering from the initial injury. She suggested that the committee investigate the number of head and neck injuries denied by Pinnacol. Rep Pace asked whether Ms. Kelly-Gray believed that her husband was sent back to work too soon. She replied that her husband was injured on April 20 and returned to work on April 24. Sen Tochtrop commented that the employer seemed to be at fault for not calling 911.
02:13 PM -- Steve Stahl, a firefighter from Durango, talked about his experiences dealing with Pinnacol over 8 years. He described working on the June 2002 Mission Ridge fire, and injuries to his spine that became evident 4 months later. He noted the investigations of Pinnacol into his health. He specifically cited the need for a patient advocate and the lack of truly independent medical examinations. He suggested that Pinnacol should be subject to bad faith claims and the insurance premium tax.
02:31 PM -- Leonard Delgado, former employee of the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, working in the maximum security section, spoke to the committee about his injuries and his experience in dealing with Pinnacol. Over several years working in the maximum security section, he was injured several times, some of which resulted from attacks by patients. Representative Gerou asked about the dangers inherent in Mr. Delgado's state employment. (Attachment H)
02:50 PM -- David Camacho described injuries sustained in a fall from a ladder while at work and while being electrocuted with 8,000 volts in a 2008 accident. His friend, Jennifer Oliver, described in greater detail the injuries sustained by Mr. Camacho and the experiences in dealing with Pinnacol.
03:07 PM -- Joel Beck discussed his injuries from 2003 on a road construction project.
03:18 PM -- Stan Houston of Ordway talked about injuries sustained while working at a steel plant.
03:25 PM -- Paul and Patrece Snow of Pueblo West talked about Paul's injuries resulting from a 20-ton cement block falling on him. He spoke of the limitations of the workers compensation system. She spoke of the problems they experienced in dealing with Pinnacol and the difficulties resulting from her need to stop working in order to take care of him. Senator Tochtrop commented that injured workers should not need to hire an attorney to receive compensation.
03:50 PM -- Seth and Susie Patterson of Boulder testified to the committee. He is currently the fire chief of all-volunteer Lefthand Fire Protection District in northern Boulder County. His injury incurred in 2008 and resulted from an over-pressurized water hose. He spoke of the need for a patient advocate.
04:05 PM -- The committee recessed.
04:15 PM -- The committee returned to testimony from injured workers:
04:17 PM -- Deb Stirling, a member of the board of directors for the Lefthand Fire Protection District, spoke about the resolution of Chief Patterson's situation. Her district board voted to provide a patient advocate for any future injured firefighter. She suggested two things: effective, independent, and ongoing oversight of Pinnacol; and medical evaluations by professionals that are truly independent of Pinnacol.
04:27 PM -- Robert Morgan, owner of Foremost Flooring spoke of his injuries. (Attachment I)
04:32 PM -- Lester Parker of Parker Excavating in Pueblo spoke as both an employer and an injured worker. He spoke of his positive experiences as an employer and his negative experiences as an injured employee. Stacy Parker testified that the premiums for her company tripled after the injury. (Attachment J)
04:44 PM -- William Galvan, Sr. testified to the committee about the injuries to his son, William Galvan, Jr.
04:51 PM -- Glenn Barricklow of Fort Collins discussed his 2007 injury and his experience in dealing with Pinnacol.
04:54 PM -- Paula Evans of Denver, a state employee with the Ports of Entry, spoke about the repetitive motion injuries she sustained and the challenges she experienced in getting treatment.
05:01 PM -- Frank Rodman of Aurora, a retired police officer with Greenwood Village, spoke about injuries he sustained in 2002 during a work training exercise and in 2003 in a work-related car accident.
05:06 PM -- Maryann Cordova from Littleton shared her story about a 2006 injury.
05:09 PM -- Marjorie Mason-Lott of Aurora described her injuries from a fall.
05:16 PM -- Jandale Carter of Greeley spoke about the loss of her husband Barry in a work accident and her appreciation for the scholarship her son received from the Pinnacol Foundation.
05:18 PM -- Ronald Miller of Salida spoke about his positive experiences with Pinnacol following his injury.
05:24 PM -- Rosalie Wagner of Denver testified about her positive experience with Pinnacol.
05:27 PM -- Harley Bowers of Lakewood spoke of his experiences.
05:33 PM -- Tom Young of Golden discussed his 1990 injuries, his difficulties with the Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority, and his positive experiences with Pinnacol Assurance. He noted that both of his children received scholarships from the Pinnacol Foundation.
05:40 PM -- Debra Peter, a former employee of the Department of Corrections, testified about her injuries and the difficulty she has experienced getting treatment. Her husband, Kenny Ryan, asked the committee to fix the workers compensation system.
05:55 PM -- John Doe presented written testimony and discussed his 2004 injury caused by an accident while he was employed at a private school. He spoke to his difficulties in getting treatment for his injuries. (Attachment K)
06:03 PM -- Dr. Annu Ramaswamy spoke about his experience working with Pinnacol Assurance on behalf of injured workers since 2000.
06:06 PM -- Astrid Elshire of Aurora spoke about her injuries and the denial of her claim by Pinnacol as not being work related.
06:10 PM -- Dr. Hugh Macaulay, recently-hired Medical Director for Pinnacol Assurance, spoke about his past work experience and the things he learned at the hearing, apparently his first day on the job.
06:21 PM -- Devorah Lynn Kappers testified about her situation.
The committee was adjourned.