Many healthcare workers call their work, very personal. They know becoming a doctor, nurse, medical technician, or other hospital staff member was the right occupational career path. In times of crisis, these people shine; in times of need, these people rush into the fire and are true heroes.
As a hospital medical staff member, you have certainly faced many emergencies and challenges over your career. No matter where you got your education and training or where you have been working recently, you may have faced nothing remotely close to what healthcare workers are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
No matter what position you hold in your chosen medical field, this pandemic has impacted you in many ways. Many people mistakenly believe that medical professionals can shut down and aren’t really impacted by the physical and emotional toll of the work. Nothing during this unprecedented pandemic could be further from the truth—doctor disability is a real thing. If there is ever a time in recent memory to experience extreme physical and mental challenges from your work as a hospital staff member, this is the time.
While you have spent your career putting the health and well being of your patients first, you can only continue to serve your patients well if you too, are healthy. Your work demands exacting focus and sustained attention so you can recognize signs and symptoms in others. You also need to recognize the signs and symptoms of a growing problem in yourself—burnout, fatigue, mental anguish or PTSD.
Living in the medical field, you know all too well what happens to someone who does not take proper care of their body and their mind. Please don’t ignore your own physical or growing mental symptoms. More importantly, do not let your well intentioned employer push you back into work when you are not capable or ready.
Just like your patients recovering from COVID-19, your body and mind need adequate time to rest and heal. Yes, there is a pandemic raging, but you are of little help to your patients if you cannot properly diagnose and treat them regularly. Allow yourself the proper time to heal before you step back into the fray.
If you or a loved one is suffering as a result of the medical attention and care you have provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, or if your employer is pushing you hard to return to work, you have options to help you properly heal. One terrific option is to speak with a disability lawyer to explore your disability options. This may give you the extra healing time you need to make a full and complete recovery. Remember, the only way for you to return to work focused and prepared, and ready to take action that saves lives is if you are well.
Many workplaces across the country closed offices and stores to stem the tide of transmitting COVID-19 to employees and customers. This action has partially worked to slow down the transmission, but before the spread of this Coronavirus strain was under control, many businesses and stores re-opened their doors. By July 2020, only 25 percent of workers were teleworking, down from 35 percent in May 2020. Much of this decrease in teleworking by American workers is due to daily pressure from employers to be back in the office.
Healthcare workers and hospital staff have not had the luxury that other Americans had and continue to enjoy. To do your medical job, you had to be in the medical office and/or hospital. You had to see patients and treat them, one after another. In doing so, you may have exposed yourself to the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, with or without symptoms.
Hospitals across America have pressured their staff to return to work. The New York State Nurses Association recently filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Health for failing to adequately protect nurses. The policies in question provided that hospital staff must return to work seven days after experiencing symptoms, even if they tested positive. This directly contradicts current medical information and evidence that it can take up to fourteen days to show symptoms after someone has been infected.
In practice, the New York State Department of Health required hospital staff to return to work, arguably putting themselves, colleagues, and their patients at risk of transmission. This policy could have deadly ramifications for the medical staff and the patients they serve.
Suffering from this virus requires special attention, even if you do not initially show fatal signs. Today, there is still much to learn about COVID-19, and medical professionals advise taking it easy and giving your body the time it needs and deserves to recover. There may be long-lasting effects that we simply do not know about yet. Unfortunately, out of their desire to care for their patients, medical professionals sometimes have trouble taking and following their own advice.
You want to get back to work as quickly as possible and treat your patients. You want to give the highest levels of medical care to those in need. If you are not at the top of your game, you could injure other people as well as yourself, so please be careful.
When suffering from COVID-19, you may show many possible symptoms or side effects including:
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Blood clots
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation
- Muscle aches
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Having some of these common symptoms is not a guarantee that you have actually contracted COVID-19. That’s why it is important to get tested, especially as a healthcare worker who may be more likely to come into contact with someone who, knowingly or unknowingly, carries the virus.
Unfortunately, for many Americans, not going to work is not a viable option, even when you are sick. You have bills to pay, rent to make, and food to put on the table. There may be spouses, children, parents, and grandparents counting on your ability to make a living and keep a roof over everyones’ head. Not working may not seem like an option; but, it could be.
Disability may be an option for you, and one that helps keep you at home to ensure you fully and thoroughly recover. Disability may give you the best chance to not only deliver your patients the highest level of care when you return, but it also allows your body the time it needs to recover without you worrying about how to pay the bills. Disability options for hospital staff range are varied, and getting coverage often presents challenges. When you work with an experienced disability attorney, you can get the help you need. If you already have individual or group long-term disability coverage, understanding the features, advantages and benefits of what you have and how to properly make a claim is critical.
No one likes to get sick. Even the common cold can knock people out for a few days or a week. In the grand scheme of life, missing a few days resting to make sure your body heals is a small price to pay when you are delivering medical care to others. However, when you cannot seem to get better or your illness lingers, that can create more than physical problems. Treating the body is important to make sure you heal and return to your regular life, but part of healing the body, is also healing your mind.
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they quarantine, and so long as they do not show life-threatening symptoms, they usually get better in a few days to a few weeks. However, we still have much to learn about this Coronavirus strain and not everyone fits into that time period. In fact, many COVID-19 victims consider themselves long-haulers, suffering from this debilitating virus for many weeks and months.
If you are sick for a long time, colleagues or your boss may start to think you are making up your problems, that, you really are not that sick, or you are just milking the situation. Not only does being sick for a long time hurt your mental health, so do these feelings of abandonment. Anxiety and sadness are two of the most common mental symptoms long-haul COVID-19 victims face, due to the isolation, pressure to be better faster and the fear following a diagnosis.
The mental stress faced by long-haulers, and even victims who only take a few weeks to recover, should not go overlooked. Mental stress disrupts your social life, work life, and general happiness. You may not have the energy to get off the couch or even just a walk to get some fresh air. Being unable to go to work makes you feel unproductive, especially as a healthcare professional during a pandemic. All of this together can create a vicious spiral down a mental health black hole.
This dilemna also makes it more challenging for you to live your life. You may no longer have the resources or the money to pay your regular bills. You may lose the will to care for yourself and your family. By recognizing depression or dysthymia may be creeping in and seeking disability treatment you can begin to feel some relief as things get better.
It is important to evaluate your long-term disability options that need to be fully explored. Mounting financial stress will only make things worse. Tackle the issue head on by working with an experienced disability lawyer who can help you properly file your claim and collect the compensation you need to truly heal.
While the pandemic has ravaged these long-haulers, symptoms of depression and other mental health symptoms are up dramatically across the medical landscape over the last months. The cause of this mounting mental health decline is constantly being studied, but it seems clear the pandemic is the catalyst. Do not ignore your mental well being. Your physical health is important but your mental health requires attention, too, especially during one of the most challenging periods anyone has ever faced.
Disability insurance is designed to help you weather the storm of a long-term illness or accident by covering a portion of your monthly income. Disability insurance acts as income replacement, allowing you the option to use the funds for whatever your needs are, including, rent, mortgage, utility bills, food, living expenses or co-pays and treatment. Having this coverage gives you peace of mind that you will not need to worry about your bills if you suffer from a long-term illness like COVID-19.
Filing a disability claim always presents unique challenges. As a healthcare worker, you understand insurance companies are difficult to deal with, even during your time of need. Working with a trusted disability attorney can help ease this strain. With over 100 years of insurance industry claims experience, we at DarrasLaw can help you overcome a delayed or denied claim or help you file your claim so it is processed quickly and smoothly, giving you access to the funds you desperately need.
Both short-term and long-term disability provide monthly benefits to help cover your gap in income while you properly recover. While short-term disability usually pays out with waiting periods as short as 7 days, it will usually not last long enough to cover as a long-haul sufferer of COVID-19. Understanding the differences in disability coverage can help you choose the right plan for you and properly file your claim so you get paid.
Short-Term Disability Coverage
Short-term disability insurance will generally provide you with benefits for up to six months, after an initial waiting period of 17 days. Depending on your plan, you may receive up to 80 percent income replacement.
Long-Term Disability Coverage
Long-term disability insurance generally provides you with benefits that last much longer, usually two years, five years, or until normal retirement age. The initial waiting period before benefits can be received for long-term disability coverage varies from one month to one year. The income replacement you will receive is usually 60% of your monthly earnings and you can receive this amount for a much longer time period.
Filing a Claim
Many insurance companies give access to online disability forms. Unfortunately, these forms are tricky and your answers often result in your claim being denied or delayed. Claim application mistakes often lead to unforgiving deadlines that also result in denial. Unfortunately, many people wait until their claim is denied to hire a disability insurance lawyer.
Speaking with an experienced disability attorney early in your claims process can help prevent undue delay and outright denial of your disability benefits. Many wrongful denials state the reason as COVID-19 not disabling you under your plan.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) may sound like it covers retirement plans. In reality, this law also applies to group short and long-term disability insurance. ERISA has its own set of intracate federal rules that most lawyers are unfamiliar and untrained in. Please make sure you can involve an experienced ERISA disability lawyer in your claim early to avoid problems.
Your ERISA disability attorney can help with the claim forms for you, making sure you answer each question appropriately and provide the right documentation. The right disability lawyer will also know the tricky questions the insurance company might pose to create a reason to delay or deny your claim.
Remember that insurance companies look for ambiguity, loopholes or mistakes to deny your claim. As a healthcare worker, you have probably seen patients complain about insurance companies denying their claims and leaving them high and dry. You may be able to avoid the stress and worry by partnering with a disability lawyer who has your best interests at heart. The right lawyer can make a real difference in your claim and help you recover compensation faster.
There are many reasons why the insurance company may delay or deny your claim. Many insurance company claim decisions may seem like there is no way to overcome the problems. But with a knowledgeable individual or group ERISA disability attorney who has battled big insurance companies before, you can give yourself a leg up and increase your chances of success.
A common reason for insurance companies to deny a disability claim is a pre-existing condition clause. If your disability coverage started before you showed symptoms of or tested positive for COVID-19, this is clearly a wrongful denial of your claim. Hire an experienced disability lawyer and hold your insurance company accountable for their wrongful denial.
Intentionally injuring yourself would exclude you from receiving benefits under your disability coverage. The insurance company may even try to make the case that because you went to work as a member of hospital staff, you knew the dangers. If you contracted COVID-19, then that is a self-inflicted and intentional injury. Clearly, that is nonsense. Doing your job does not mean you intentionally injured yourself by contracting this strain of Coronavirus. Get help and counsel to fight this bogus denial.
Unproven or Lack of Objective Evidence
This delay or denial strategy trips up many claimants. When an insurance company says your claim is unproven, they mean to say you have not provided sufficient, objective documentation for your injuries or sickness. In other words, you need third-party documentation, such as a positive COVID-19 test result. The more medical records, testing, treatment, medication and care you can submit, the better your chance of not receiving a denial based on a lack of objective evidence.
No matter why your claim was denied, the right individual or group ERISA long-term disability attorney can help you overcome the denial, provide sufficient documentation, and assist you in collecting the compensation you need to heal. Releasing claim stress can help clear your mind so you can ensure your mental state remains healthy while you physically recover.
Stay Safe and Sane
As a healthcare worker, you help other people, many of whom you may never see again. Taking care of your patients, as well as your friends and family, weighs heavily on your own mental well being. If you are spending all of your time caring for others, it can feel isolating when no one is caring for you, especially if your employer is pressuring you to return to work when you have not fully recovered from your illness.
Employer pressure places an extra and unnecessary burden on you, seemingly in an attempt to shame you back to work. Remember, you have done nothing wrong. In fact, you are making the best decision you can for your long-term health.
Knowing your patients need you only magnifies your feeling of burden and pressure to return to work when you suffer from COVID-19. Part of the COVID treatment is isolation from others. Humans are social beings. If you suffer from COVID-19 symptoms for an extended period, you could be without human contact for a long duration of time.
Today, more than ever before it is so important for you to work with a skilled disability lawyer. COVID-19 is still new and being studied by medical professionals across the world. Experienced disability attorneys have been battling insurance companies for decades and know how to properly frame your claim for payment.
If you are bring wrongfully delayed or have received a denial of coverage, speak with a knowledgeable disability lawyer as soon as possible. After the insurance company has denied your claim, you have a short and unforgiving time window to file a comprehensive appeal. If you miss that window, you could suffer financial consequences because you cannot overcome the filing mistake. Over two-thirds of Americans who file bankruptcy each year do so because of a medical issues, so get help early.
With chronic debilitating illnesses the suffering is immense. Do not let yourself become a statistic. Take care of your mental health by getting legal help to alleviate your stress and worries about paying your bills. Your lawyer will help you appeal a denial of your claim and work hard to get you the compensation you need to get better, and get back to work when you are healthy.
Keeping Americas Healthcare Workers Healthy
Our goal at Darras Law is to help every frontline worker. We understand how you feel—physically, mentally, and financially defeated and exhausted. Our award winning legal team will provide you with compassionate and aggressive legal representation. Big insurance companies have all been held accountable by Darraslaw.
Remember, not all disability lawyers are created equal. With over 100 years of combined insurance experience in the disability industry, we can help you, just like we have for so many other victims. Whether you have yet to file your disability claim or you have already filed it and been denied, do not delay on your next step.
Your ability to recover the compensation you need often depends on your choice of legal representation. You have chosen a career of service to others and your community. Let us repay your altruistic work by helping you overcome the challenges you face by making you our priority and representing your best interests in your disability claim.
Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for an extended period of time does not mean the end.
You just need to find the right help. Call DarrasLaw at (800) 458-4577 or write to us online.