Model of Efficiency?

Posted October 28th, 2007 by RetiredPlayers

Former Los Angeles Rams player Bill Bain appeared as a witness at the United States Senate Hearing on the NFL retirement system.  Bain stated he was testifying in support of the NFLPA.  The NFLPA expected his testimony to highlight the efficiency of the NFL Disabilty Plan.  Instead, Bain’s testimony told a story of extraordinary delays and careless, plan chosen doctors.

Below is a time line based upon Bill Bain’s testimony:

  • 1987: Bill Bain retires from the National Football League.
  • January 1993: Bain receives two letters from the NFL Player Benefits office advising him of two funds created to pay benefits to disabled players.  The funds were created as a result of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Bain’s health had deteriorated to the point he felt he could qualify for disability benefits through the National Football League.  After learning of the two funds, Bain contacts Miki Yaras-Davis at the NFLPA and is sent an application for disability benefits.  After returning the application, an appointment is scheduled for Bain to see a doctor chosen by the Disability Plan.  When Bain arrives at his appointment with the plan chosen doctor he is told he needs to pay a $300 fee before the examination can take place.  Bain did not have the money to spend on the exam.  The doctor refused to evaluate Bain without the $300 payment.
  • September 15, 1996:  Two years and nine months after receiving the letters notifying him of the two funds created to pay disability benefits, Bain finally saves the $300 payment necessary to be examined by the Disability Plan’s doctor.  The Plan doctor, Dr. Schultz, writes a report and submits it to the Retirement Board.
  • January 16, 1997: The Retirement Board meets and makes a decision taking into account the medical report submitted by Dr. Schultz.
  • January 18, 1997: Bain receives a letter from the Retirement Board notifying him that his application for disability benefits has been denied.
  • January 19, 1997 to March 15, 1997: Bain begins the appeal process to dispute the Retirement Board’s denial.  While reviewing the medical report written by Dr. Schultz, Bain and his attorney notice that Dr. Schultz incorrectly noted a surgical scar on Bain’s right knee.  The surgical scar was actually on Mr. Bain’s left knee.  Further, Dr. Schultz made no reference to venous insufficiency of the legs, which Bain claimed was his primary ailment.  Bain stated Dr. Schultz never asked him to remove his socks to fully examine his legs.
  • April 24, 1997: Bain submits his appeal to the Retirement Board.  He also submits a letter which addresses the errors in the report Dr. Schultz submitted to the Board.  On appeal, the Retirement Board is deadlocked at a 3-3 tie vote on Bain’s application.  Since the vote is deadlocked, Bain is sent to see a Medical Advisory Physician (MAP) for additional medical evaluation.
  • May 28, 1997: Bain is sent to see Medical Advisory Physician, Dr. James Tibone.  Dr. Tibone is also a Plan chosen doctor.  During the examination, like Dr. Schultz, Dr. Tibone does not examine the venous insufficiency in Bain’s legs.  It isn’t until Bain’s wife, a registered nurse, requests that her husband remove his socks that Dr. Tibone examines the venous insufficiency present in Bain’s lower legs.  Dr. Tibone prepares a medical report for review by the Retirement Board based upon the examination.
  • July 23, 1997: The Retirement Board grants Bain disability benefits.
  • August 15, 1997: Four and a half years after receiving the two letters informing him of the availability of disability benefits, Bain finally receives his first disability payment.

Video of Bill Bain’s testimony can be viewed by clicking HERE.  Bain’s testimony begins 49 minutes and 35 seconds into the webcast.  His testimony concludes at the 55 minute and 35 second mark.  Unfortunately, there is no indication on the Senate Committee website that Mr. Bain submitted any written testimony.

2008 NFLPA Retired Players Convention

Posted October 27th, 2007 by RetiredPlayers

The NFLPA has announced that the 2008 NFLPA Retired Players Convention will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The Convention will take place May 28 – June 1, 2008.  If the NFLPA were truly interested in a dialogue with retired players it seems a more central location, perhaps in the midwestern United States, would be a more suitable location for a convention. 

Judiciary Committee to Expand Investigation into NFL Player Injuries and Benefits

Posted October 21st, 2007 by RetiredPlayers

Mike Ditka voices displeasure with the NFL Disability System for retired players.The House Judicary Committee announced it has requested a Congressional Research Service report on the health problems both active and retired NFL players face.  Although neither NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell nor NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw chose to attend the June 26, 2007 hearing conducted by the Judiciary Committee, the Committee felt it necessary to address both Goodell and Upshaw.

In separate letters dated October 12, 2007, to Goodell and Upshaw, the Committee poses 43 questions for the NFL and the NFLPA to answer.  The letters also request numerous documents to assist in the preparation of the Congressional Research Service report.  Responses from the NFL and NFLPA are due October 26, 2007, at 10:00 a.m.

Senate Hearing

Posted October 1st, 2007 by RetiredPlayers

On September 18, 2007, the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation held an oversight hearing on the National Football League retirement system.  Witnesses included Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, sports broadcaster and former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston, former Minnesota Viking Brent Boyd, former Rams player Bill Bain, retirement board trustee and former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, Hall of Fame player Gale Sayers, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw.

A webcast of the hearing can be viewed by clicking HERE.  The written testimony submitted by the witnesses can be viewed by clicking HERE.  Click on a name to view that person’s written testimony.