Injured officer complains of poor treatment with workers' comp claim

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Heather Lysfjord is happy to share her husband Todd's story.

"He likes to be able to take the initiative and do active police work to be able to help others," she said.

Since his accident, he prefers that she do most of the talking. Lysfjord is a decorated veteran and a Chandler police officer who was working a call on the very cold night of Jan. 16, 2013.

"There was a large patch of ice from where the sprinklers had been on and it had coated the sidewalk with black ice," said Heather. "He slipped and fell, did kind of a Hollywood-style fall.

That led to days in ICU, resulting in a back injury and neurological damage.

The Lysfjords made a workers' comp claim for both, and doctors started treating his back. The city of Chandler uses a company called Corvel to handle such medical claims.

The Lysfjords were waiting for a neurological evaluation when they opened a letter that changed everything. In it, Corvel gave the couple, by the time they received it, just two days to sign and release Todd's VA records to the company.

The only problem? They didn't include the release form!

"I immediately called HR and Corvel and said hey there may be a problem with this because I can't comply by March 1," Heather said.

But it didn't matter. March 1 brought another form suspending the couple's benefits.

"There's a process whenever an employee goes under workmans' comp that has to be followed," said Natchie Marquez, spokeswoman for the city of Chandler.

She says this was just a formality, and Corvel has since given the Lysfjords the proper forms, and reinstated their benefits as of Monday afternoon. Still, the couple say the fear of losing treatment was serious. They feel the city of Chandler doesn't understand.

"Until Todd gets the treatment and the testing he needs, I think then I'll be able to take a breath and say, 'OK, now we can move forward,'" Heather said.

She says the VA is still working on gathering Todd's information for release.