KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Wal-Mart Sued For Limiting Employee Medical Care

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is facing a class-action lawsuit in Colorado accusing the company "of conspiring to limit medical care for injured employees in a bid to save money," The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart broke state and federal laws by using a subsidiary to control the treatment for employees with workplace injuries. Wal-Mart sent the injured workers to clinics run by Concentra Inc., which operates 300 medical centers and 250 workplace clinics in 40 states." The suit was filed last year on behalf of roughly 7,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees in Colorado. It charges Wal-Mart, Concentra and insurer American Home Assurance Co., part of American International Group Inc., "of conspiring to violate a Colorado worker's compensation law that bars companies from dictating medical care for workers hurt on the job." Court records show that Wal-Mart gave subsidiary Concentra "protocol notes" before appointments with employees. The employees' lawyers "suggested the retailer could face similar legal action in other states, such as New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Iowa, and Oklahoma, which likewise bar companies from dictating injured workers' care...Wal-Mart, Concentra and American Home deny in court documents that they conspired to limit medical treatment" (Bustillo, 7/21).

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