SAN BERNARDINO — San Bernardino County Supervisors moved this week to accelerate access to medical care for survivors of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in response to public health workers' criticisms over delayed treatment.
At least 18 employees in the county's Department of Public Health have filed for workers' compensation, and county officials anticipate 36 more cases, according to the agenda from a special meeting called Monday to broach concerns over the attack survivors' lagging medical care.
Public records show that the 18 active cases reflect physical, emotional and/or mental distress.
In a statement following Monday's session, Board Chairman James Ramos suggested many of the issues raised by survivors stemmed from the county not receiving supporting documentation from their providers. He noted the workers' compensation system consists of review procedures and requires treatments to be documented.
"The county will increase efforts to work with those providers to obtain the documentation needed to move forward with approving treatments," Ramos vowed. "Based on concerns expressed by the Board of Supervisors, the county will hire a firm whose sole function will be to expedite the process for our employees."
The pledge for resolution comes just short of a year after Syed Farook, an inspector with Environmental Health Services in the county's Department of Public Health, and his wife stormed into a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center and shot and killed 14 while injuring 22. Twelve killed worked in the DPH. Farook and his wife later died in a shootout with authorities.
Speaking on behalf of the five-member Board of Supervisors, Ramos insisted that "the recovery of our employees is one of the county's highest priorities."
"In light of the unique nature of the Dec. 2 cases," he said, "the county is committed to continuing to take steps to expedite the process and get our people the care they need."
He added that the board will now monitor cases to ensure workers are receiving appropriate and timely treatment.
Shea Johnson can be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.