The latest article in a series from NBC Bay Area points out some issues with attempts to combat the widespread fraud that costs the workers’ compensation system billions of dollars. Using the example of Dr. Gary Martinovsky, the article dives into the funding that encourages prosecutors to go after successful medical practitioners.
In an effort to combat fraud, prosecutors are being offered financial incentive to bring fraudulent medical practitioners to justice. The problem, however, is that this incentive is leading to overzealous prosecution.
Aviva Abramovsky, a law professor at Syracuse, believes “that specialized funding for prosecutors and investigators creates a conflict of interest that jeopardizes the impartiality of prosecutors.”
Between 2011 and 2015, district attorneys were granted $156 million dollars to prosecute insurance fraud. As a result, prosecutors are far more inclined to go after these types of cases. The result? Workers’ compensation doctors – particularly those who have managed to be successful in California’s broken system – feel targeted.
Dr. Martinovsky, for example, was arrested for fraud. He has spent the last year or so fighting these charges, and no evidence has been supplied to garner a conviction. In the meantime, he almost lost his practice.
Martinovsky believes that this overzealous prosecution is to blame for doctors opting out of treating injured workers. Doctors, recognizing the risk, are choosing not to work with workers’ compensation patients.
Even after the long legal battle, Dr. Martinovsky cannot imagine abandoning his practice. He says, “Especially now that many doctors have shut the doors or dropped out of the system, it’s very important to be there for injured workers.”
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