SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
State launches investigation of shocking Menard prison claims

Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011

* State insurance fraud investigators are now looking at Menard Correctional Center, where over half the state prison’s employees have filed workers compensation claims since January 1, 2008. The Belleville News-Democrat broke this astonishing story, and here’s their latest installment

The investigation by the Illinois Department of Insurance follows news articles in the Belleville News-Democrat, which reported that since Jan. 1, 2008, at least $10 million in awards and payment for medical leave has been made in about 225 settled cases.

A total of 389 guards and other workers have filed more than 500 claims, including about 290 still pending. About 230 of these claimed injury for the underlying cause of “repetitive trauma,” including carpal tunnel syndrome, an injury of the wrist. The prison employs about 760 workers, of which 567 are guards.

230 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome? That’s crazy. And check this out

Fairview Heights attorney Thomas Rich, whose office has handled a majority of the prison’s compensation claims since 2008, said that a check of his own records showed that an overwhelming proportion of repetitive trauma claims by state workers were approved without opposition.

A cynic might say word got around that the state was handing out free money and everybody jumped in line. It’s just crazy that the attorney general’s office allowed this to happen. But the gravy train appears to be over

However, Rich said the approval rate has reversed since the legislature held recent hearings on reforming the workers’ compensation law and since the New-Democrat’s articles about repetitive trauma claims from Menard began this month.

“Now that the legislature has gone into session to ostensibly change the workers’ comp law, and now that the articles have appeared in the paper, ” he said, “The people who have been approving 19 out of 20 of these claims are having people look over their work and are now denying all repetitive (state worker) trauma claims … Now all anyone can do is go before a judge (arbitrator) and let it rip.”

* The cost

* $5.9 million was awarded in settled claims where a prison employee, usually a guard, claimed injury due to repetitive trauma due to working manual locking systems and keys or other repetitive duties.

* $2.2 million was awarded because of accidents like falling and injuries due to overexertion.

* $1.6 million was paid to workers recuperating from injury.

* The paper’s recent editorial also made a good point

Another factor is the “not our problem” attitude at the Department of Corrections. More than half of a prison’s workers are claiming work-related injuries, and the department’s response is that it doesn’t process the workers’ comp claims. Well, it does supervise these workers. With so many of them claiming work-related injuries, shouldn’t there be a review of working conditions? The spokeswoman said she wasn’t aware of any such plans.

Amazing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:14 am:

    Fact 1: These are compensable cases under the laws of the state of Illinois.

    Fact 2: CMS makes the determination whether to approve or dispute cases not the AG’s office. The AG’s office only defends the cases CMS decides to dispute.

    Fact 3: It is not unusual for one or two attorneys to handle a majority of the claims from one facilty whether it is public or private.

    Fact 4: The only way to stop this is to reform Workers Compensation law.

    Fact 5: The bill currently being considered will not changes an overwhelming majority of these cases.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:46 am:

    You have to believe the long-coveted workers comp reform is going to fly now.

    I don’t know it for a fact, but it appears to be a nice PR rollout for proponents with the BND stories. The apparent abuse at Menard has been going on for a while. Looks like someone in-the-know started tossing information over the transom to coincide with the GA activity.

    Great work by BND, though. And yes, where were DOC and the attorney general?


  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:53 am:

    If Illinois had a real Governor this would have been investigated and stopped. Of course, if it had a real Attorney General, that would have happened, too.


  4. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:10 am:

    Absolutely amazing. Why do I have the feeling this is the tip of the iceberg?


  5. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:20 am:

    Word, there is a bill floating around now. However it does not address most of these cases which are compensable workers compensation claims under the law as it stands now.

    The AG is taking heat here, but the claims are also administered by CMS which I believe is under the Governor.

    Where was the AG? At the bank, with the Governor, cashing their campaign donations from Afscme whose members are cashing in bigtime.

    It ain’t rocket science.


  6. - Leave a light on George - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:36 am:

    Personally know of two claims paid for repetitive motion injuries in my old agency. There was nothing in their jobs that required repetitive motion. Said so on my supervisors report as part of the claim.

    Worker Comp paid without so much as a wimper.


  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    The AG’s office only investigates things like pay day loan operations and fly by night mortgage companies.

    I don’t think they ever investigate state corruption. They don’t have the staff for it.


  8. - Can't Say My Nickname - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:58 am:

    It would be good to know if all the surgeries were done by the same doctor and if any of the workers retained the same attorney.


  9. - Can't Say My Nickname - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:02 am:

    Posted before reading the article. Appears that one attorney handled the majority of the cases.


  10. - allstar - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:14 am:

    no govt defendant ever wins anything at the industrial commission


  11. - Shemp - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:16 am:

    I don’t think the story is that shocking if you’re an employer that has a lot of employees engaged in physical work in this State. You make your choice, pay out the claim or pay an attorney for a 12-24 month fight that may very well still end up seeing you pay the employee a significant amount. Add to that doctors that are constantly covering their own hides and erring on the side of caution and it’s really no wonder the whole work comp system in Illinois is a mess. It’s even worse if you’re a public employer covering police and particularly fire.


  12. - cover - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    wordslinger @ 8:46 am, you missed another state entity that should have stepped in to curb the worker’s comp abuses. Isn’t the Department of Central Management Services supposed to help state agencies, such as Corrections, manage and mitigate worker’s comp liabilities? If so, where were they? If not, why not?


  13. - UnionsWonItForQuinn - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    This is not amazing at all. This is the kind of gross mismanagement that the current and last administrations have allowed to go on for nearly a decade now. It shouldn’t amaze anyone. If it weren’t so sad, I’d laugh at the sudden righteous indignation.


  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 10:52 am:

    Again, why is “waste, fraud and abuse” alsways mocked and trivialized by the mavens. It should be a permanent intensive component of all operations, government expecially


  15. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 11:02 am:

    I have had surgery on both wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome. The result of decades of repetive motion from skilled trades, manufacturing (steel fabricating, etc) and other issues. In my current position I type alot. My symptoms were never associated with that typing. My agency got me a nice keyboard which helped. I didn’t file a workmans comp claim since I know my job didn’t cause the CTS.

    Turning keys causes CTS? What bunk.


  16. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    “Who watches the watchmen?”

    Uhh… we used’a had a guy, but he’s out with a sore wrist.

    – MrJM


  17. - Irish - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    It is not surprising that workman’s comp claims are up in this time of low staffing levels. I know of several legitimate claims that arose from employees doing jobs by themselves that should have been done by two people. But when there aren’t two people there the lone employee attempts to do the work and is injured.
    These injuries are real and should not be lumped in with claims made to line ones pockets.

    However I also think a correlation can be made between stressful working conditions, long hours, etc. that leads to employee unhappiness and work comp claims. And the last several years have been very stressful to State employees. There is no money to make necessary repirs in their workplace, no money to hire staff needed to properly operate their facility, their benefits being attacked by leaders who are lining their own pockets behind the scenes, and constntly being berated by the public, the news media, and the very leaders who caused the problems who are covering their behinds by blaming the employees.

    Whether some folks want to believe or not their are a lot of State employees who used to take pride in doing a good job, in being good public service career people. But over the last 10 years or so they have thwarted at every turn by short lived politicians and bureaucratic hacks who are only interested in getting in and getting their share and then getting out, or protecting their friends and power base. The numbers of those who still care have dropped and I know of a lot who just want to get out as soon as they possibly are able.

    There are also those who want to strike back and make those in power pay for the abuse. So it really should not come as a surprise that for the above two reasons that work comp claims have increased.

    The State mantra of “The beatings will continue until morale improves” only works in the short term.


  18. - wordonthestreet - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 12:47 pm:

    “Irish” is wise. He speaks the truth


  19. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 1:09 pm:

    Yeah, I steal supplies from my job cause they don’t pay me enough. (Snark)


  20. - Just Because - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    I live for the day when pride can come back to the state and state workers. “Irish” say all you want about ryan and edgar but at least senior staff, directors seemed to care and really tried to make a difference. today the state cant even produce an org chart. very sad


  21. - Responsa - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 2:26 pm:

    Looks like this may just be an example of more low hanging fruit (that so many in government pretend there isn’t any of due to all the cuts and brutal oversight). Sure, go ahead and raise my taxes. I am happy to fund this sleazy fol-de-rol. Heckova job, Quinnie.


  22. - Ain't No Justice - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 5:47 pm:

    Well stated “Irish”. State employees do more with less and when your middle management, they at the top expect you to move furniture and other “heavy” duties and if you refuse because you fear getting hurt you get written up for insubordination. Several times over the years I could have filed a workers comp claim but feared retailiation so I didn’t. Well done IRISH!


  23. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:22 pm:

    this was going on at idot d-2 several years ago, you would see someone looking at new cars and a week later they would go down with an injury.At one time 1/2 the shop was off on comp.


  24. - park - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:27 pm:

    Re: Attorney General’s Office…”They don’t have the staff for it.”

    Ummm….really? What do they have, like about 1,000 attorneys? How about taking just one away from ‘payday loans’ and have him/her act in the taxpayer’s interest to prosecute obvious fraud by State employees? Is that really that hard?

    All we’ve heard for the past 6 years or so is how the Cook County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General can’t go after public corruption. Like, WHAT? And these are our ‘perfect future leaders?” Compared to who?

    I like LM, but if she passes on this opportunity, who needs her?


  25. - tobor - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:32 pm:

    Turned a lot of F.A. keys the last twenty years. The damage is real in a lot of cases.


  26. - Green Line - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 8:59 pm:

    Not mentioned yet is the role of Central Management Services in these cases. CMS controls the personnel system in our state. When workers comp cases arise, their staff often make the call about whether employee cases will be contested by the employer agency, regardless of what agency staff may actually want. CMS labor relations staff have routinely rolled over on these cases or instructed agencies to ignore the claims for years. If the finger is getting pointed as far as the AG, please remember that CMS plays an important and more direct role in workers comp cases, at the level where decisions are made about contesting claims. Blame the AG for a lack of curiosity if you want to, but don’t ignore a target that deserves a lot more scrutiny than they seem to be getting.


  27. - tunes - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:08 pm:

    Irish and Ain’t No Justice speak the truth. I retired from state govt. work after 31 years (20 in middle mgmt.)and witnessed the ‘morale busting’ especially after Blago got into office. Things have been screwed up ever since. It’s sad in most offices, how the attitudes reflect the lack of respect front line workers have for management, not to mention the political hacks who oversee them…


  28. - not a state empl - Wednesday, Jan 5, 11 @ 9:37 pm:

    a couple of years ago these cts cases were being denied and due to many claims by menard correctional emply it was investigated (by CMS). some engineers came into the prison and examined/tested the doors and locks. it was found that it took(sorry, but i dont recall) so many pounds of pressure to turn the key. It went infront of a judge and ruled that these claims were founded. As far as the same lawyer, wouldnt you want the best, the toughest working for YOU! The test done for cts is a diagnostic test so there is no fraud you either have it or you dont. If you let cts go on for years it can cause muscle wasting and perm damage to your hands. so what are you going do?
    Go and tour the center and you will see. These are not your normal looking keys or doors. Who is doing the fraud?


  29. - justice - Thursday, Jan 6, 11 @ 7:30 pm:

    fire the warden. promote the warden from within the prison system. not off the street. where is the pride in some of these workers? I can at least look at myself in a mirror and be proud. Ten years ago you never heard of cts. Is this a generation thing? Some heads have got to roll.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* *** UPDATED x1 *** The dirty little secrets about Facebook video views
* Life on a ledge
* Question of the day
* Our totally inspiring and uplifting US Senate race
* Trump piles on Chicago, but he may want to ask his running mate about Indiana
* Don't hold your breath
* More ugliness
* Today's number: $105,733
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition, fundraiser list and a campaign roundup
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............
<


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* Android-Chrome merger may be previewed at Pixel event
* Oculus faces developer backlash over founder’s politics
* The hopes and headaches of Snapchat’s glasses
* Taking a swing for the Grammys with the new Lip Sync Battle app
* Prices for Google Home and new 4K Chromecast have leaked
* Hands-on with Pictar, which adds buttons and wheels to your iPhone camera
* Will you try to persuade your friends and family to use Allo and Duo?

* Frazier hits HR, Quintana solid in Sox win
* Amid struggles, Sox close in on milestones
* Frazier hits HR, Quintana solid in Sox win
* Rodon hopes to derail Indians in finale
* Eaton jolted after slamming into wall
* Pitching for Team USA in WBC intrigues Sale
* Pair of homers not enough vs. 1st-place Tribe

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* Illinois state representative warns of more sto.....
* Bernard Schoenburg: Interesting twists in Troem.....
* Court decisions in other states put heat on Ill.....
* Statehouse Insider: Do you remember where you w.....
* Statehouse Insider: Do you remember where you w.....


* EXCHANGE: Deputies in right place to save life of woman
* EXCHANGE: Roselle family calls safe haven mothers 'angels'
* Iowa State president damaged school plane on personal trip
* Illinois man arrested in kidnapping of teenager and baby
* Family of Chicago man found dismembered files lawsuit
* Experts: May be hard convicting Tulsa cop of manslaughter
* Record number of Illinois youths killed while in DCFS care
* South Chicago suburbs try to curb video gambling businesses
* Federal grant to pay for repairs at Abraham Lincoln's office
* Iowa State president damaged school plane on personal trip

* Planning underway locally for Illinois' 200th birthday
* Attack on state senator leads to arrest of murder suspects
* Illinois Supreme Court overturns law allowing 6-member juries
* Local unemployment of 4.6 percent still lowest in state
* Elderly frozen-treat seller gets $380,000 from GoFundMe page
* Creation of Amish history museum in central Illinois underway
* Privately funded Executive Mansion work will follow traditional wage, bidding rules
* 'Memorandum of agreement' outlines restoration rules for Executive Mansion work
* Gov. Rauner uses Facebook Live to announce bicentennial plans
* Environmental groups push for lead testing of water in schools

* How Presence Health cracked the code on telehealth
* Merz Apothecary at your door within hours
* Where did the bankruptcy wave hit hardest?
* Seven years after selling the Cubs to the Ricketts family, Tribune's tax battle is in extra innings
* Meet the Dems' chief weapon against remap reform: Michael Kasper


* Man shot while driving in Humboldt Park
* 2 women wounded in Little Village shooting
* Police: Man with dementia missing from Austin
* 18-year-old Park Forest woman killed in I-80 crash
* Man shot in the buttocks in Little Village
* Man wounded in Back of the Yards shooting
* Man shot, critically wounded in Woodlawn
* Police: Man shot to death in Englewood
* Man shot in Longwood Manor
* Man shot during attempted carjacking in Austin


* Windsor school 'tasting menu' a big hit with students
* Man critically wounded in shooting near Millennium Park among 14 shot citywide
* Suspect in Washington mall shooting 'zombie-like' when arrested
* Washington Post-ABC poll finds virtual tie for Clinton, Trump ahead of debate
* On the Air
* Northwestern coach decries mistakes after 24-13 loss to Nebraska
* Use economic ties with Cuba as leverage for North Korea issues
* Brian Kelly on Notre Dame's loss to Duke: 'Coaching had nothing to do with the outcome'
* No. 7 Stanford scores 13 in final 24 seconds, beats UCLA 22-13
* Baltimore police: 8 people, including toddler, injured in shooting


The widget AQL4JYGHIY powered by Feed Informer does not exist.


* Bernard Schoenburg: Interesting twists in Troemper-Reid circuit judge race
* Statehouse Insider: Do you remember where you were during Rauner's Facebook Live session?
* Compass for Kids supports at-risk children
* Innovate Springfield gives boost to new businesses
* Eric Zarnikow: Aid changes mean students should act now
* Planning underway locally for Illinois' 200th birthday
* Attack on state senator leads to arrest of murder suspects
* Illinois Supreme Court overturns law allowing 6-member juries
* Local unemployment of 4.6 percent still lowest in state
* Bernard Schoenburg: Policy institute criticized for secrecy in Madigan project


* Popping the bubble: Baby's life saved by screening
* Old King's Orchard celebrates with two anniveraries
* Small towns are feeling the effects of ag economy drop
* The future of farming: Famers discuss uses of technology on the farm
* Central Illinois farmer eager to teach ways of organic farming
* Throughout state, teachers take a unique look at agriculture education
* Column: Illinois Corn Growers Association sets up water preservation program
* Column: Farmers have a lot to gain with trade partnership
* Column: Illinois Soybean Association provides all the tools to succeed
* Kenneth King


* LEADING OFF: Mets need innings, Lester makes Cy pitch
* Top 25 Capsules
* Elliott Sadler wins inaugural Xfinity Chase race at Kentucky
* Russell has 4 TD passes, No. 16 Baylor beats Oklahoma State
* Kentucky beats South Carolina for third straight time, 17-10

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Illinois/Wisconsin briefs - Dubuque Telegr......
* Illinois Awarded $3.7M in Grants to Addres......

* Report questions accuracy of Kirk, Duckwor......

* Rumdum
* Putting A Fresh Face On The Uptown Theater
* Attempted Hold-Up Of American Metro Bank On Friday
* "A Taste Of Uptown" Is Coming In October
* Carol's Pub Closes (At Least For Now) - One Of Uptown's Last Appalachian-Era Hangouts
* Blues people (an art project).
* Teachers (an art project).
* Wilson Avenue Closed To Vehicles Between Broadway & Clifton 9am-5pm This Week
* Sneak Peek: Upcoming Outdoor Space At Lawrence House
* Where's Weyermuller? At Illinois Tea Party's 2016 Golf Outing & Dinner


* IDOT Hiring in Preparation of Winter Weather - Temporary help needed to assist with snow-and-ice removal, public urged to apply
* Illinois Department of Insurance Reminds ‘Land of Lincoln Health’ Customers to Enroll In New Coverage - The deadline for ‘Land of Lincoln Health’ customers to enroll in a new plan is September 30, 2016; Consumers could experience a gap in health care cove
* Governor Rauner Celebrates Illinois’ Hunting Heritage on National Hunting and Fishing Day
* Governor Signs Executive Order Creating New Illinois Bicentennial Commission
* State of Illinois Announces Online Enrollment Platform for Group Insurance Programs - MyBenefits Marketplace continues Illinois’ digital transformation, improves state employee experience




      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller