A Salt Lake County man injured more than eight years ago in an industrial accident says he is tired of getting harassed for unpaid bills from companies providing him medical supplies and services and wants the Workers' Compensation Fund of Utah to get them off his back.

Paul Kuehnl, 34, 3269 S. Pearce Drive, said if the fund would pay some of the bills that have gone unpaid for many months he would have a better holiday season.Bob Short, fund vice president, said his organization has an obligation to see that Kuehnl's medical needs are met and is investigating the claims. He said Kuehnl is well known to fund employees because of a "nasty" attitude and in some cases hasn't followed orders on rehabilitation or training.

Short said Kuehnl has over-ordered some medical supplies, like catheters, that have a limited shelf life, and if they aren't used it would be a waste of money.

On Oct. 22, 1986, Kuehnl was working for Camco Construction Co. at Snowbird Ski Resort when a beam in a maintenance shed he was helping build struck him on the neck. He went to a hospital and despite an operation he is considered a quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair to get around.

On March 6, 1989, Timothy C. Allen, an administrative law judge for the State Industrial Commission, awarded Kuehnl 312 weeks of permanent and total disability payments at $265 per week for a total of $82,680. The benefit was reduced to $205 per week with some money going to purchase a van specially equipped so Kuehnl could drive.

Allen said Kuehnl's benefit from the Employers Reinsurance Fund will be increased on Oct. 15, 1992, and be paid at $265 for the rest of Kuehnl's life.

Since then, Kuehnl received letters from some medical care providers asking him to pay some bills, some as little as $23. He said the fund waits until the last possible minute to pay some of the bills, and a bill from Interwest Medical hasn't been paid since March.

Kuehnl has asked for hearings before a law judge in an attempt to get the bills paid after he claimed the fund cut off his medical supplies. Patrick O'Connor, president of the Injured Workers Association of Utah, said it is unfair for Kuehnl to request a hearing because he must hire an attorney and with his low income he can't afford it.

Several weeks ago, Kuehnl asked for another hearing to request additional items be believes would help him. The list was so lengthy that the fund received a delay to examine the request.

Short said Kuehnl has asked for a riding lawnmower with snowplow attachment, exercise equipment, a cellular telephone and many other items that must be found to meet his medical needs.

"We have tried to accommodate Mr. Kuehnl, but it is never quite enough. This isn't a giveaway program," said Short.