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Officer's shooting leads to audit of city's medical cost containment firm

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Fort Worth, Texas, Mayor Betsy Price is calling for an audit of CorVel Corp. after a nurse case manager for the company was accused of asking an injured police officer and his family “inflammatory questions.”

Shane Drake, a sergeant in the Fort Worth Police Department, was shot in the stomach by a suspect on Jan. 29 while responding to a panic alarm at a home, according to media reports. Mr. Drake was rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital where he underwent surgery to his lower abdomen.

Ms. Price alleged that a nurse case manager for CorVel, a provider of medical cost containment and managed care services, arrived at the hospital and began asking hospital workers, as well as Mr. Drake's family and co-workers, “inflammatory questions,” according to reports. The specific questions allegedly asked by the nurse case manager have not been reported.

The city will audit Irvine, California-based CorVel as a result, focusing on cases from the past two years, and reviewing its contract with CorVel, which expires in December, according to reports.

CorVel said in a statement on Thursday that, per the company's contract with the city, nurse case managers must be “immediately assigned” to an injured worker in the event of a catastrophic or severe occupational injury.

However, when the nurse, a certified case manager with more than 25 years of experience, arrived at the hospital on Jan. 30, she “was escorted to the family by a police liaison officer who was not the usual officer that handles these duties, and there was apparently a misunderstanding as to who she was and what her purpose was for being there,” according to the statement. “Her presence was not well received, and after a brief interaction the nurse left the hospital.”

Ms. Price told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that she was frustrated by CorVel's statement, saying, “I think they are trying to frame it on us for having the case worker called in, and that was not the (issue) at all. It was the ineptitude of the caseworker and the way they handled it that frustrated everybody.”

Meanwhile, Rick Van Houten, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, told the newspaper that “every officer that is injured complains about this company.”

According to CorVel's statement, “the purpose of sending a nurse as an early point of contact is to offer assistance to the injured employee and their family, and to evaluate their immediate and future needs for coordination of medical services.”