You are undressed standing in a small room with your backside showing. You have a pain in your back and any moment someone is going to walk through the door. This isn’t a scene from a horror film, this occurs every day in doctors’ offices around the country.
We place an incredible amount of trust in doctors. They see us at our most vulnerable and we depend on them to make it all better. It is completely against everything we have been taught about this relationship to think that your doctor’s motives may not be 100% altruistic.
The reality is that doctors are running a business just like everyone else. The more care you receive, the higher their fees. In a world where consumers will sue at the drop of a hat, it is easy to see why a doctor would order a diagnostic test that could be considered reasonable, but not necessary.
I do not fully fault the doctors’; the system is set up just like the temptation challenges on the Biggest Loser. Sometimes the chocolate chip cheesecake with whip cream topping just looks too good to pass up. It is, however, extremely important realize that not all doctors are created equal.
Successful Outcomes Come From Successful Relationships
Like most things in life, successful outcomes come from successful relationships. As an employer, one of the requirements to controlling your workers compensation outcomes is to be proactive in building physician relationships. Here a simple idea to get you started:
• Visit or call doctors’ offices in your area to find out if they accept workers compensation and understand the reporting requirements. Are they looking for more business, or are they happy with what they have?
Once you have a few viable options, here are some considerations to finalize your selection(s):
Your company physician should:
1) Be responsive to your employees’ needs and be willing to return them to work as soon as possible.
2) Schedule your employees’ appointments immediately, without delay, and be flexible in scheduling.
3) Review your job descriptions and use your forms for transitional duty accommodations.
4) Provide a written release when the employee is ready to return to work, detailing any applicable medical restrictions.
5) Exhibit a caring attitude and pleasant manner.
6) Possess outstanding medical credentials, with an excellent reputation in the community.
Doctor Selection Varies By State
It is also important to be aware that doctor selection is regulated by state workers compensation statues. There are many variations of how providers are selected based in each state, but the three basic methods are a follows:
1) The employee selects the doctor
2) The employer selects the doctor
3) A blend of methods where the employee selects from a panel of doctors provided by the employer.
Clearly if the employer can direct the care of injured workers, it is easy to have your employees participate in your physician relationship. However, even in states where the employer cannot direct care, employees will often agree to see the company doctor if the doctor has a good reputation, is conveniently located, and deals fairly with people.
Trust your doctor. However, trust them because you have gotten to know them and appreciate their business practice, not just because they are wearing a white coat.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Principal, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.