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“Collaborative Reports” Legally Worthless

September 6th, 2013

Are you ready for the latest Guzman case, dear readers?  Oh, no, not that Guzman, but rather David Guzman v. Sysco Foods.

The case turned on the issue of applicant’s (attempted) reliance on a “collaborative” medical report.  Apparently, in some medical offices, patients are treated by a team of physicians – like a bottle of Popov’s vodka in a college dormitory, the applicant was passed around several psychiatrists, who all took swigs of her symptoms and later produced reports as “collaborative” work product.

The following scene comes to mind:

Applicant sought to rely on those reports at trial, and the WCJ rejected them because they were not from the medical provider network.

Upon review, the WCAB held that it would have admitted the reports, and then immediately discarded them as failing to establish that “actual events of employment were predominant as to all causes of that psychiatric injury” as required by Labor Code section 3208.3(b)(1).

But how? The doctors sang in chorus of the evils of the employment and the injury done to their patient.

Because the reports were part of a “collaborative process”, involving multiple evaluators within his office, it was “not clear whether [any of the three doctors] provided medical opinions based on his own examination of applicant and review of the relevant medical records.  Because we cannot be sure that the conclusions in the report are based on a relevant factual basis, we cannot rely on these reports to find that applicant sustained an industrial injury to his psyche.”

Do you have a case where the opinions are based on a “collaborative process”?  You might want to whip this panel opinion out and kick those reports to the curb…

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