In November, California Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R), former chair of the House Oversight Committee, charged Labor Secretary Thomas E. PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE to turn over to Congress documents he alleged would show “a pattern of wasteful spending and mismanagement.” If Issa only knew how much “wasteful spending and mismanagement” I have seen at Labor since Perez became chief.
Issa’s main complaint against Perez was the secretary “frivolously spends taxpayer money on unnecessary items,” specifically on posters for the 23 elevators at the Frances Perkins building in Washington. Perez has his flunky bureaucrats change the posters weekly at a taxpayer cost of $2,637 a week.
Since 2009 taxpayers have paid over $600,000 for posters and spent “over $100,000 to promote a book club.” Book club? I guess idle bureaucrats need some way to spend an 8-hour work day and reading is one way to do it.
As an injured and disabled federal worker, Secretary Perez “mismanages,” to use Issa’s word, my worker’s comp case. I slipped and fell in a federal building due to the incompetence of a government approved cleaning subcontractor whose employees were too stupid to place a caution sign on the wet waxed hardwood floor I fell on. My fall put me in a wheelchair and I managed with great difficulty to walk away from it.
Secretary Perez will approve no ongoing physical therapy or assistive devices like lumbar support aids. He won’t allow me any type of ongoing physical, including chiropractic, care. Why?
When I wrote to Perez about ongoing physical therapy, I got emails from him strongly encouraging me to help President Obama “Raise the Minimum Wage.” I got other emails strongly encouraging me to support other Obama causes. When I did not reply with money to this political extortion, I was told by Perez’s staff, I could not be authorized to see physicians for my federal work injuries.
As a result of this political retaliation and intimidation, I have paid thousands of dollars out of my pocket for my medical care, prescription drugs and transportation to medical appointments for my federal injuries. Perez offers me no hope his political staff will ever authorize repayment for my medical expenses unless I want to donate it to “Raise the Minimum Wage” or other Obama causes. (Disclosure: I foolishly voted for Obama twice.)
Labor’s Workers’ Comp problems are immense based on my experience. The outfit is top heavy with bureaucrats doing political work. I thought that was prohibited at all government agencies. It seems it is included in every bureaucrat’s job description at Workers’ Comp.
Fraudulent medical reports by Workers’ Comp “approved” physicians abound in my case. One medical test was “performed” by a doctor who never saw me. I asked Perez how much the doctor was paid. Unsurprisingly, he did not reply. I would like to hear his reply to Congress about this medical test and the manner in which it was conducted on me in my absence.
In another case, a Workers’ Comp physician billed the government nearly $6,000 for a prescription medication that costs around $90 at a retail pharmacy. Labor paid the physician his fee of $200 for overbilling the government. When I wrote to Labor’s Inspector General about this “wasteful spending,” to again quote Congressman Issa, I received notice the “approved” physician’s Treasury check for $200 had been canceled.
I take great pride I helped save taxpayers this small amount of money. I want to help taxpayers save more money by reforming Workers’ Comp and firing thousands of bureaucrats who are not helping injured and disabled federal workers only trying to extort money from us for the political cause du jour.
I have many other cases of documented fraud by Workers’ Comp physicians. I also have documented cases of Workers’ Comp bureaucrats lying to Members of Congress about their corruption. To date, Labor’s IG has done very little about all of this “wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Labor. Congress should take action before more injured and disabled federal workers die from inaction by politically corrupt bureaucrats, political appointees, and physicians.
Issa and incoming Oversight Committee Chair Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzNunes retirement move seen as sign of power shift in GOP Congress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows MORE, Republican of Utah, need to call Perez and his IG before the committee so American taxpayers can get a clear picture of how the Obama administration is abusing and mistreating injured and disabled federal workers. We are the other veterans involved in a corrupt and politicized outfit charged by Congress to help us and not to further injure and disable us.
Workers’ Comp must be reformed in 2015. The criminals need to be held accountable for the pain and suffering they caused honorable men and women who chose government service, became injured or disabled and are paying a cruel price to the cruel bureaucrats at Obama’s Labor department.
Patterson is a diplomat, writer, speaker and educator based in San Francisco.