Saturday, July 20, 2013

Disability Leave - Moving Toward September

I spoke with a person from our leave management department last week. I told her I am having surgery on September 16th.  She sent me a bunch of forms and a checklist of things to do prior to, during and after short-term disability leave.  She also explained that our company’s disability leave policy covers the following:
  • Paid 100% of salary for the first 13 weeks on disability
  • Paid 80% of salary for weeks 14 – 26 out on disability
  • If I still need to be out after 26 weeks, my case will be reviewed by the insurance company that handles my company’s disability claims. If I were to go out on long term disability, my income would be 40% of salary.
The short-term disability leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period.  Because disability leave is covered under FMLA, I will keep my health insurance while out on leave.  The FMLA leave runs concurrently with my company’s short-term disability policy. The short-term disability requirements are in addition to, and not instead of those for FMLA.  Because my leave will be taken continuously, not intermittently, I do not have to use up my vacation and sick days before I get paid by the company’s short-term disability policy. 

The completed forms that are required are:
  • Request for Short-Term Disability Review.  I fill this out.
  • Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (FMLA).  My doctor completes this form.
  • Return to Work Certification Form (not until I go back). My doctor also fills out this form.
I completed the first one and sent the second over to Dr. Clancy’s office. My company outsources its disability program to an insurance company. The letter I received from the leave management person stated that if my claim is approved by the insurance company, I will receive a telephone notification and an approval letter via mail.  This letter will outline the process and my responsibilities if my health care provider recommends an extension of my disability leave beyond the initial approval period.  I’m not sure what happens if my claim is not approved by the insurance company – the leave management person said that should not happen.

Wow! This seems highly paperwork-intensive!  The checklist they gave me seems quite thorough and now that I have an assigned medical leave person, I can always call with questions.  At least my company is making a complex process a bit easier by spelling everything out to me.  So far so good!

Meanwhile, we leased an apartment in Boston for part of September/October.  I have a place to recuperate. One more item off my to-do list.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Interesting Article on Clinical Trials

There is a thought-provoking article in the Sunday Review section of today’s New York Times titled “Do Clinical Trials Work?” The Sunday Review section is where the opinion and editorials are, not the news.  In addition, the author of the op-ed is Clifton Leaf, who just happens to have a book on this subject being released next week.  Even if you ignore the point of view in this article, the information on how clinical trials are designed and how phases 1, 2 and 3 are different is informative. It also defines placebo and double blind trials.  I thought it was interesting reading.  The link is below:

Monday, July 8, 2013


Today I told my boss that I would be having a gastrointestinal surgery in September and would be out for around 6 weeks. I informed him that the surgery is scheduled for September 16th and we should talk about who will be filling in on my accounts while I’m out.  He did not ask any questions and deferred any questions concerning backup. I did not bring up cancer and he did not seem to care about the purpose of the surgery. That was fine with me.   I asked him about the probability that I could get terminated while out on disability due to a reduction in force (RIF – see my last post).  He said that he would not do that because it would be “dickish” and he’s not like that.  Nonetheless, I told him that I was concerned about my long term viability at the company. I did not want to come back from surgery only to be RIF’d a few months later.  He said that if he thought that would happen, he would likely tell me to go ahead and stay out for long-term disability.   I asked who I could talk to about insurance/medical issues should I have to go out on long-term disability and he gave me the name of a contact in Human Resources. That person referred me to our employee service center.  I called the service center for “leave management” and got a recording stating that no one was there and to leave my information.  ‘Someone” would call back!  So much for customer service – they did not even allow me to stay on hold for 30 minutes!  No one has called me back yet – maybe tomorrow….

Overall, this meeting went better than expected – not sure what I was so nervous about.