What do you call the person who graduates at the very bottom of his class in medical school? That question was posed to me by a friend of mine in college, particularly after he didn’t do so well on one of his exams. But he would say Mike, you call that person doctor.
All Doctors Are Not Created Equal
Hello, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX and while it’s somewhat of a funny question, the answer is one 100% true. It doesn’t mean that I want to go see that doctor, doesn’t mean that you want to go see that doctor, it doesn’t mean that you want your injured employees to go see that doctor either. There’s a common misconception, particularly among American consumers, that all doctors are created equal. We know with complete certainty that that statement is just not true. The message and the doctors that you’re working with can make or break the success of your work comp program. While there are some states that are employer directed states, other states that are employee directed states, and even now there’s others that are a blend of the two. You need to have this physician relationship that can help drive the success of your program. Drive the success of your return to work program and create those better outcomes for your injured workers, thus costing you significantly less in work comp costs.
Characteristics of Ideal Company Physician
I want to go over some of the characteristics that you want to be looking for in that company physician relationship and also some of the ones that if you currently have them, that you need to think about getting a new physician relationship. Let’s talk about what these characteristics are. First you want that physician to be responsive. You want him or her to be caring, willing to spend extra time with your injured employees, with some of the additional paperwork that’s required in work comp, and of course, you want that person to be highly qualified and versed in the best practices of evidence-based medicine.
Let’s unravel these a little bit. Talk about the extra time that’s required in Workers’ Comp as compared to group health. There’s some physicians that are just not interested in that. You need to find the ones that are. You need to find the ones that are specialized in occupational medicine and willing to have this responsive and caring attitude towards your injured workers. We know how important trust is, in order to predict the outcome for your injured workers. That’s true with the employer’s site, that’s true at the medical provider level as well. You want that doctor to be able to come out to your employer site. Hold a health fair. Get to know your employees. Build that relationship, build that trust, and also understand those job descriptions.
What are the functional requirements of the job, so when that employee goes to see that physician, you can get those medical restrictions and you can make them very specific in order to feed that person right into your transitional duty program, which is so key to the success in the recovery of that injured worker.
What NOT to Look for in Company Physician
Let’s talk about the other side of this coin. One caution that I often see. If you get this highly qualified doctor, well versed in evidence-based medicine, big reputation in the industry, you’re often also going to get an arrogance from that particular doctor. That person will be unresponsive because him or her will have no time and no interest in working with you in your program, providing you the restrictions. Filling out your workability forms, feeding into your return-to-work program and just unwilling to come out to get to know your employees and your organization. It’s such a symptom of this arrogance. They also may have a biased approach and be inflexible in being creative in getting those restrictions and helping your employees get back to work in a timely fashion.
This type of physician, and this bias is also a big one, either from the employee side or the employer side as well, because this is how you get the reputation of, “Oh, I’ve got to go see the company doctor and I’m just not going to be treated fairly.” You’ve got that going against you right out of the gate. But if you have that doctor that has that caring attitude, is willing to spend that extra time, you are going to be putting your program on the path to work comp success.
Again, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX. Remember your work today, and Workers’ Compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, but it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. Be great.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .
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