San Bernardino Comp Task Force to Review Terror Attack Aftermath
Sacramento, CA - After survivors of the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack brought their problems with receiving timely medical treatment to the Board of Supervisors, county leaders pointed to workers' compensation. Now, the county has formed a task force, it says, set on mending issues with the statewide system beyond just those experienced by the attack survivors.
In conjunction with San Bernardino County's employee associations and unions, the county will "work with them to identify issues they're experiencing, their members are experiencing and see about suggestions for addressing those issues," county CEO Greg Devereaux said Tuesday.
The Victorville Daily Press reports that the task force is the latest effort by the county to deal with criticism levied by public health workers in November over delayed treatment received following the terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015, where 14 died and 22 more were injured.
As of late November, 18 employees in the county's Department of Public Health had filed for workers' compensation and officials had anticipated 36 more cases at that time. Public records showed the cases reflected physical, emotional and/or mental distress.
Last month, Supervisors hired a firm to provide enhanced nurse case management and system navigation services to county employees injured in the attack.
The county said it had found many of the issues raised by employees stemmed from the county not receiving supporting documentation from their treatment providers.
Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Janice Rutherford suggested that the task force, and the Dec. 2 attack generally, could springboard efforts to address the workers' compensation system as a whole. Gonzales added that "we have found that, in fact, the system works very much against the very solution and benefit that, again, originally was intended or that is needed."
"... I find this a great opportunity for us to take a leadership role to a great deal of frustrations that I'm sure other agencies, other boards, groups and employees have found challenging," she said, "but did not have the catalyst behind them to actually throw the doors open of this situation and say, 'hey, let's take a good and closer look.'"
Devereaux said the task force had already endorsed the wider review of the system.
"That's really the focus, it's the whole system for all employees," he said. "Dec. 2 and the impacts on those employees is what brought it to our attention, but it really is, we are looking at it more broadly."
He said the task force will regularly report back to the board. Supervisor Curt Hagman said he appreciated a turn toward proactiveness. Read More...