Flint, Mich. — Abuse of sickness and accident benefits is the greatest production problem at General Motors Corporation, with absenteeism alone costing up to $1 billion a year, officials of the No. 1 automaker said. Nearly 100,000 hourly workers of a 496,000-member work force were absent each day during the first six months of 1979, and of those absent some 29,000 did not have excuses allowed by the contract. The major obstacles to resolving the problem, officials said, is cracking down on physicians and other medical personnel who see easy money in certifying workers for potentially invalid claims.
In a copyrighted story, the Flint Journal Sunday said four of its reporters posing as GM employees were certified eligible for benefits by doctors or other practitioners who in some cases did not even examine them.