Workers’ Comp Woes, Writing your will, and Mr. Thomas’ honor

If you have ever been injured in the line of duty, you are keenly aware of the nightmare that will follow.

It seems that more and more claims are getting denied by the third party administrator who oversees all claims. We are told that the City of Houston is considering changing vendors for our Workers’ Compensation.

Personally, I think a change would be beneficial to all involved.

If you are injured or involved in an accident, please report the incident to your supervisor IMMEDIATELY. Do not think that just because you feel no pain immediately, you are not injured. Make the report and if no pain results, no harm done. If you fail to report the injury until later, your claim is more likely to be denied and result in major headaches for you in the appeals process.

While you are off work, make sure that you routinely get checked by your doctor and return to work as soon as you are released. Many, many officers are finding that they may reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI) before being released to return to work.

When this happens, the city is permitted by state law to take back any time you used after the date of your MMI. I am working with risk management to attempt to get this changed. It may require a legislative change in the next session in 2017. Until then, please stay on top of your appointments and paperwork to make sure you do not get caught in the unfair policy from the state of Texas.

Remember, if an injury is caused at work, you cannot use your Cigna insurance for that claim. It must go through workers’ compensation.

Got a Will?

Mike Newsome from HPD Family Assistance has asked that I stress to each of you to complete a will as soon as possible. He has stated that many officers and retired officers who pass, some unexpectedly, have no will.

This places a huge burden on your next of kin. The Houston Police Officers’ Pension System assists members with wills and there are some available online. Wills requiring extensive work should be completed by an attorney of your choice.

Take care of your loved ones and complete a will today!

HPD Unites

On Wednesday, June 24, the Houston City Council voted unanimously to name the Houston Police Headquarters after Mr. Edward Thomas, the longest-serving Houston police officer in the history of the department. I advised council members that in my 26 years at the Houston Police Department, I have never seen officers rally around an issue like happened in this case.

First proposed by our chief of police, the HPOU Board voted in April to recommend the naming of headquarters after Mr. Thomas. AAPOL, OSSO, LEAAP, HOPE and all HPOU/HPOA presidents from the last 30 years supported this cause.

HPD Headquarters was dedicated to Mr. Thomas on July 27.

Thanks to all of you who made phone calls to council members, sent emails to them and who attended the council meetings when the item was discussed. Mr. Thomas deserved this honor and thanks to many of you, it happened.

Recruiting

As a reminder to all, if you know someone who would be an outstanding police officer, we encourage you to ask them to join the Houston Police Department. Starting pay recently increased $7,000 per year and classes are forming and filling. Contact Recruiting for more information.