L.A. Firefighters Want New Workers’ Comp Carrier

August 15, 2005

Firefighters want the city to find another firm to handle workers’ compensation claims because alleged slow processing by the current company delays medical treatment and costs millions of dollars in overtime and off-duty pay.

More than 50 firefighters filed complaints with United Firefighters of Los Angeles City in the past three months because of problems with Cambridge Integrated Services Group, union director Steve Tufts said.

Most of the complaints said Cambridge Integrated took too long to approve treatment.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask that when a member gets hurt, we get them the treatment they need and get them back to their assignment,” Tufts said.

Cambridge representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The city Personnel Department is reviewing the complaints, spokesman Tom Coultas said.

City officials signed a three-year contract with Cambridge in 2004 for about $7 million a year. It is set to end in June 2007.

“Is there a systemic problem with regard to the way Cambridge is administering claims? We don’t think so, but we are in the process of going through every single denial and every single delay,” Coultas said.

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