Arizona May Need to Reconsider Worker’s Compensation Benefit Plans

In 1995, Mesa police officer Audrey Glemba suffered a back and knee injury during a training exercise. Later, in 2008, she was granted a medical retirement and has been collecting full benefits. On top of that, Arizona taxpayers are funding the $500 a month she has been receiving in worker’s compensation since 2010. Perhaps surprisingly, during the 14 years between the injury and retirement, Glemba managed to run 29 races, including 10 triathlons and the 49-year-old completed the grueling Ironman Arizona challenge last November. To some, that is not sitting well.

“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Dr. Jeffery Taffet, who never treated Glemba. “This is the tip of the iceberg. I see this every single day. I have a file this thick.”

In Arizona alone, more than 1,400 public safety employees are receiving medical retirement benefits, and only one doctor has approved the majority of them. This has caused questions to be raised about the integrity of both the process and the physician.

“What we count on as a society is the moral fiber of that physician to do the right thing and unfortunately not all physicians do the right thing,” said Taffet.

Jim Quiggle, a member of the D.C.-based Coalition Against Insurance Fraud mentioned his own concerns. “Should there be more scrutiny, should there be more transparency?” He believes that cases like Glemba’s raise serious questions about the way Arizona approves and tracks claims and if taxpayers are being properly considered.

“When we’re dealing with an issue that could be costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the person’s retirement, maybe even millions, you have to ask the question,” Quiggle added.

Despite the fact that concerns have been raised, Glemba does not seem to express the need, or desire, to defend herself or her actions.
When asked by a news outlet if she had any comments, she responded, “”This case has been tried to conclusion. If you … I’m not going to try it on television.”


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