Paterson risk manager suspended without pay in probe of workers' comp billing

An investigation into a multimillion-dollar increase in the city’s medical payments for workers’ compensation cases has resulted in the unpaid suspension of Samir Goow, Paterson’s insurance risk manager, officials said.
The city imposed Goow’s suspension at the end of business on Monday, according to municipal law director Domenick Stampone. Municipal workers changed the locks on Goow’s second-floor office at City Hall the next day.
“Law enforcement has not yet been notified,” Stampone said Tuesday morning.
The law director confirmed that the disciplinary charges are “related to city finances” and the “delivery of medical services” under Paterson’s workers’ compensation program. He declined to provide further details.
Goow did not respond to a phone message left at the Totowa office of his private business, Investigations Unlimited.
Business administrator Nellie Pou declined to discuss the specific charges against Goow, but she did provide some information on the city’s workers’ compensation medical coverage.
Pou also confirmed that there have been changes in recent years in the group of doctors and other medical providers on the city’s workers’ compensation health care lists.

The medical bills for workers’ compensation cases recently increased by several million dollars compared with previous years, even though the number of claims filed by employees has gone down.

Pou said the increase in costs seems related to the changes in the list of providers, but that the situation remains under review.
Former Paterson mayor Joey Torres appointed Goow to the risk-manager position in April 2015, and city officials previously credited him with helping Paterson crack down on bogus workers’ compensation claims. Goow’s city salary at the end of 2017 was $30,000.
The departmental disciplinary charges against Goow are conduct unbecoming a public employee and “other sufficient cause,” Stampone said.

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