Workers Comp Zone


The Center for Investigative Reporting recently published another revealing story on questionable workers’ comp claims handling at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

This April 2019 piece (see link below), by investigative journalist Will Evans, focuses on a cozy relationship between Tesla and Dr. Basil Besh, a prominent Bay Area orthopedic upper-extremity specialist. The article alleges that Besh, who apparently ran an occupational treatment facility in Fremont called Access Omnicare, catered to Tesla and interfered with treatment decisions by other doctors at the facility.

If the allegations are accurate, Besh was putting concerns of the employer (and his desire to continue getting referrals) over the best interests of the workers. Insider whistleblowers at the clinic are said to have spoken to the investigative journalist.

As the article notes:

“interviews with former clinic employees and internal clinic communications show how Tesla and Besh coordinated behind the scenes in an arrangement that financially benefited both the carmaker and the doctor, to the detriment of the injured.”

A quick disclosure: over the years Besh has occasionally treated some of my clients and my colleagues’ injured workers, but I have no personal relationship with him and can’t recall ever meeting him.

I’ve yet to see any formal response by Besh or Tesla on these particular allegations.

The bottom line of this story is all too familiar, though it comes in several flavors. Economic concerns driving workers’ comp treatment.

Sometimes the story is that employers  or insurers want to cut workers comp costs, and compliant doctors gather business by carrying out this agenda. And sometimes providers design treatment protocols based on their own financial interest rather than the best interest of the worker.

Whether one labels it provider greed, provider dishonesty, or provider fraud, it infects the system.

Here is the Center for Investigative Reporting report on Dr. Besh:

Here is an article on the disciplinary problems of a doctor at Access Omnicare:

And here is an earlier investigative article that looked at the way Tesla was handling occupational injuries:

Julius Young