Injury triage has become more common over the last several years. Although the market is still in the process of adopting the service as a best practice, there are fewer risk managers that start off a conversation regarding triage by asking: “What’s that?” Indeed, injury triage is no longer a service only utilized by early-adopting, forward-thinking risk professionals. The service has proven its value in enough settings and employer types that adoption of the service will continue on to virtually all employers who have exposure to work-related injuries.
Looking at Triage Simply to Reduce Claims Could Miss Bulk of Savings
So, what is the reason why more employers, insurers, and carriers are beginning to use the service? The easy answer is that injury triage reduces the number of claims that are produced. By reducing claim volume, one can easily assume that overall claim costs for an employer or insurer will also decrease. This seems logical, right? While that may be true, looking at triage simply as a means to reduce claim frequency might be missing the bulk of the savings and efficiencies gained from use of injury triage.
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“13 Research Studies to Prove Value of Return-to-Work Program & Gain Stakeholder Buy-In”
Rather, a strong argument can be made that the real value is delivered through the use of the service from what might be referred to as “second-tier savings.” These are ancillary savings that are often unique to an employer’s situation. Many times the real value of utilizing injury triage has much to do with the specific challenges faced by an employer. For example, an employer that operates on a 24-hour basis or during late-night hours might have a significant dilemma regarding Emergency Room visits. ER’s are typically the only place where medical treatment is available at night. This type of medical treatment is expensive and not conducive to the overall goals of a well-managed workers’ compensation program. The ability of injury triage to greatly reduce the frequency of ER visits would be far more significant to that employer than an employer who operates during normal business hours when there are other accessible healthcare options.
Evaluate Real Value by Examining All Savings
Another example of injury triage’s real value demonstrated through “second-tier savings” would be a contractor or similar business, that is highly sensitive to OSHA recordables. In many cases, these types of businesses must be able to prove that their OSHA recordable rate is below a certain level in order for them to be able to obtain new projects and earn new business. The ability of injury triage to reduce OSHA recordables by making sure that injured employees access the proper level of care can be more valuable than any other benefit. This would not necessarily be the case for employers who are not as sensitive to OSHA recordables; so the real value of injury triage for some contractors lies in ancillary benefits.
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A strong Return on Investment can be shown simply by looking at injury triage as a means to reduce the number of claims that are produced in any given time period. However, evaluating the real value of injury triage should be done by examining all of the savings the service provides on an employer-specific basis.
Author Craig Deneau, Medcor, National Practice Leader-Triage Services. Medcor helps employers reduce the costs of workers’ compensation and general health care by providing injury triage services and operating worksite health and wellness clinics. Medcor’s services are available 24/7 nationwide for worksites of any size in any industry. Headquartered in McHenry, Illinois, the company operates 174 clinics and provides triage services to over 90,000 worksites across all 50 states and US territories. Medcor’s triage methods are covered by U.S. & foreign patents, including U.S. No. 7,668,733; 7,716,070; & 7,720,692; other patents pending. Medcor is privately held. Learn more at www.medcor.com.