In the media: Southborough wants injured cop back on the job

Back in March, Southborough Police Officer Scott Henderson injured his shoulder when he fell off a ladder while checking a burglar alarm. He’s been on medication and out of work ever since, but the town is trying to get him to return to desk duty. It’s turned into a legal back-and-forth that is costing the town cash.

“Officer Henderson’s physician has advised that his injury will not heal on its own and requires surgery,” (Local 167 President and Southborough Police Officer Mike Crenshaw) said. “Nonetheless, Police Chief Jane Moran has repeatedly sent him letters and requests to return to light duty in violation of our contract.”

Crenshaw said he suspects the town has spent thousands of dollars on lawyers to force an injured officer to work light duty.

The MWDN requested copies of the town’s legal bills related to the matter. They got them, but the relevant bits were blacked out. You can read more in this article.

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Loki
11 years ago

This article prompts me to ask a few questions:

Where does Scott Henderson live? – relevant because it might indicate his interest in the nature of the town.

What was the precise nature of his shoulder injury?

If surgical intervention was/is needed for full recovery, why has it not been accomplished – an long ago?

Mr. Henerson is quoted as saying that he is in “extreme” pain when not relieved by taking Vicodin. Since Vicodin is rather weak analgesic, is it adequate?

What does the Pharmacist’s records show as to the amount of Vicodin Mr. Henderson has taken?

As for physician’s recommendations, has there been a “second opinion”?

What has been the quality of life for Mr. Henderson in the past six months? Has he been up and about at all?

Will his attending physician attest to Mr.Henderson’s incapacity to do anything useful to the Police Department?

Is there any plan or schedule to return Mr. Henderson to partial or to full time duty.?

What has been the nature of Mr. Crenshaw’s meetings with Chief Moran or other representatives of the Town – totally adversarial or mutual search for resolution?

I wonder what Mr.Brown has done to justify billing for sixty hours of mental labor? Sixty hours – a week and a half of full time deliberation!

Loki
11 years ago

This problem reminds me of an interlude in the history of the Police Department wherein the Town brought down a new chief from Maine. This happened quite a few years ago. By one way or another the new man avoided pre-employment physical examination. Well, not long into his new job, hypertension was “discovered” – due, of course, to the stress of his work. Bottom line: costly settlement.

John Kendall
11 years ago

I don’t think it it is one bit relevent as to where Officer Henderson lives. It is fact the he grew up here in town.

As for the rest – HIPPA, patient privacy……it’s nobody’s business.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  John Kendall

I agree with John, the public should not be entitled to the details of the Officers medical condition.

However, the Town should be entitled to this information, with appropriate confidentiality, including an independent evaluation as it is necessary to determine disability status. We are, I believe, paying the officer while he is out.

Many of our public sector workers do jobs that are physically demanding and carry with them higher than average risks of injury. We need to “do right” by those who are legitimately injured on the job. Regrettably there have been enough well publicized abuses, and probably far more unpublicized ones, of this obligation to cast a regrettable pall on those who have been injured while serving us. The public sector unions are not helping erase this perception but rather are reinforcing it with their behavior.

Loki
11 years ago

I grant that it was a stretch to raise a question as to Mr. Henderson’s residence, and quietly drop it. As for the other questions, they call for response; and the probing should probably, I think, be done by the Selectmen.
The privacy issue (HIPAA) is intricate and interesting – particularly as it applies to public service employees. If the public is called upon to pick up the tab, shouldn’t the public be entitled to see a fully itemized bill?
This issue has dragged on for too long. Let us all together strive to resolve it.

John Kendall
11 years ago

If you don’t like HIPAA, which protects EVERYONE, I suggest you ask your congressman to change it.

Dick Chase
11 years ago

There’s nothing intricate or subtle about the HIPAA issue here. Under no circumstances should an employer (yours, mine or anyone’s) be able to see specifics about what medical treatment an employee is receiving without the employee’s permission.

And that’s a good thing.

Loki
11 years ago

Don’t the circumstances in this case call for Mr. Henderson to permit disclosure of the nature of his injury? Perhaps he has – to the persons responsible.
I realize that I have posed a few challenging questions in this case, but I wish to say that it is not out of anger. Far from it. What I seek is even-handed resolution of a problem which has dragged on for far too long.

John Kendall
11 years ago

Sorry…….PATIENTS have rights to privacy. No matter how you slice it, it’s the law.

Privacy vs. Benefits
11 years ago

He, by all means, has a right to his privacy, but if he withholds the particulars of his injury then he should forgo sitting home with the us taxpayers picking up the tab. He should be anxious to offer proof that he is not fit for light duty if he has that proof. It should most definitely be his choice, but we shouldn’t have to pay for his having his cake and eating it too. Perhaps details aren’t necessary, perhaps just the signed opinion of a doctor or two who are not affiliated with either the patient or the town would fulfill the requirements of his contract. Doesn’t seem like this should be so difficult.

concerned resident
11 years ago

Vicodin. isn’t that highly addictive? and with a injured shoulder what will his capacity be in the future? wasn’t he out a while back for a back injury due to a fall on his personal time. seems to me that they should really look into MR. Henderson’s real reasons for not returning to work. I mean is he in so much pain that he can’t even dispatch or do a desk job. good for chief Moran for taking the town and the departments interset as first and for most this is not the good old days people.

Loki
11 years ago

There are exceptions as to privacy (HIPAA) . I refer you to >45 CFR 164.512(1))< which deals with Disclosures for Workers' Compensation Purposes.

John Kendall
11 years ago

How about we just let it go……………………and the disclosure would be to the town and is still covered under HIPPA…….not open to the public

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