Bill to change workers comp gets a hearing

A peace officer continues her struggle to get treatment for her injuries.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 7:32 PM PDT
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -In Carson City Wednesday morning, the first hearing was held for a bill inspired by the struggles of an injured Washoe County Sheriff’s detective we introduced to our viewers last year. For her, the bill was a goal she set for herself long ago.

The very first time we met Kim Frankel we were struck not only by the physical challenges she deals with constantly, but her determination to find justice, not only for herself but for others.

A 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, her career as a detective and as an extreme sports athlete in her spare time had been cut short by an on-the-job injury, a rear-end traffic accident that had led to a neurological disorder called dystonia. More than two years later, the condition, with its constant, painful involuntary muscle contraction, continued, and, lacking prompt treatment, was becoming permanent.

Things are unchanged as is her struggle with the state’s workers comp system. It was privatized two decades ago by the legislature. The move took away a worker’s right to seek legal action if an employer wrongfully denied or delayed treatment for on-the-job injuries. The corresponding part of that arrangement was a promise the employer wouldn’t stand in the way of that treatment, a promise which apparently has not been kept.

She vowed to change things and SB247, is the result.

So, appearing with the bill’s sponsor, Washoe County Senator Skip Daly, she told her story once again. She was joined by others, injured peace officers primarily, veterans of battles with the same system they say has ignored their pain.

There was opposition as well, with a parade of representatives of various business and industry organizations, giving a nod to the horrific stories of the victims but raising doubts about the bill’s potential impacts on insurance rates and reduced litigation.

The committee will likely vote in a couple of weeks.

Frankel left the hearing room pleased, rallying outside with supporters vowing to continue the struggle, but there’s little positive to report about her own personal battle.

The county was absent for the hearing but found their way to Oregon Health Sciences University where Frankel had been receiving and paying for treatment on her own at $600 dollars an hour.

Spooked by warnings of entanglement in a legal battle, her doctors suspended even that treatment.