In an effort to better identify post-injury workplace outcomes, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) unveiled a recent report.
Eight new state-specific studies from WCRI identified new predictors of worker outcomes that can help public officials, payors, and health care providers improve the treatment and communication an injured worker receives after an injury – leading to better outcomes.
The studies, Predictors of Worker Outcomes, found trust in the workplace to beone of the more important predictors that has not been examined before. To describe the level of trust or mistrust in the work relationship, the studies’ interviewers asked workers if they were concerned about being fired as a result of the injury.
Concerns Over Post-Injury Firing Impact Return to Work
The following are some findings from the studies regarding this predictor:
• Workers who were strongly concerned about being fired after the injury experienced poorer return-to-work outcomes than workers without those concerns.
• One in five workers who were concerned about being fired reported that they were not working at the time of the interview. This was double the rate that was observed for workers without such concerns. Among workers who were not concerned about being fired, one in 10 workers was not working at the time of the interview.
• Concerns about being fired were associated with a four-week increase in the average duration of disability.
The studies also identified workers with specific comorbid medical conditions (existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition) by asking whether the worker had received treatment for hypertension, diabetes, and heart problems. The medical condition may have been present at the time of the injury or may have manifested during the recovery period.
Among those findings:
• Workers with hypertension (when compared with workers without hypertension) had a 3 percentage point higher rate of not working at the time of the interview predominantly due to injury.
• Workers with heart problems reported an 8 percentage point higher rate of not working at the time of interview predominantly due to injury and had disability duration that was four weeks longer.
• Workers with diabetes had a 4 percentage point higher rate of not working at the time of the interview predominantly due to injury than workers without diabetes.
The studies are based on telephone interviews with 3,200 injured workers across eight states. The eight states are Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The studies interviewed workers who suffered a work place injury in 2010 and received workers compensation income benefits. The surveys were conducted during February through June 2013—on average, about three years after these workers sustained their injuries.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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