Employers frequently dread the filing of a new workers’ compensation claim. The time investigating the claim, the paperwork and the time rearranging the work schedule to cover for the person who has been injured are hassles most employers prefer to avoid. The fear factor and dread is even worse for injured employees. They are concerned about having to deal with the insurance adjuster and how they will be able to support themselves and their families if they are unable to work.
Early Medical Attention Alleviates Employee Fears and Lowers Costs
Among the employees’ fears are concerns about the quality of the medical care, the frequency of their medical appointments, will they need specialists’ care, and how long the medical care will last. By providing medical attention for injuries from the moment they happen, employers can alleviate a lot of their employees’ fears and concerns while minimizing the overall cost.
Triage Nurse Evaluates Injury and Recommends Appropriate Care
If the injured employee’s injury does not create an emergency situation, the injured employee calls a toll free nurse access number. The nurse access number is staffed by triage nurses on a 24 hour/7 day a week basis. The nurse who answers the call (frequently referred to as a triage nurse) will be compassionate and supportive. The triage nurse evaluates the medical needs of the injured employee and recommends the employee to the appropriate level of care, whether it is a walk-in clinic, first aid on the job site, providing home-care instructions, or an emergency care facility. Costly emergency room visits and medical clinic visits are avoided when they are not needed.
The triage nurse provides immediate medical assistance when injured employees need it. Employees are normally appreciative of the fact that the triage nurse took immediate action to assist them to obtain quality medical care when he/she needed it. This is a definite morale booster and shows employees that their employer cares about their wellbeing.
Immediate Quality Medical Care With Injury Triage Has Multiple Benefits
Immediate quality care arranged by the triage nurse benefits the employer in several ways including:
• The chance of the adversarial relationship that sometimes develops between the employee and the employer over a workers’ compensation claim is greatly diminished as the employee knows he/she is getting prompt, quality care.
• The time the employee is off work is diminished as the employee goes immediately to the appropriate level of care.
• The recovery outcome is improved as the injured employee is treated by the most appropriate medical provider
• The fear factor that often leads employees to hire an attorney is greatly diminished.
Not All Triage Is Created Equal
It is important to note that not all Injury Triage companies are created equal. As injury triage has become a more popular strategy to contain workers’ compensation costs, more service providers have come into the market. Curtis Smith, Executive Vice President at Medcor stated “Injury triage results vary a lot between service providers, just as performance varies between TPAs, case managers, and other providers in the workers’ comp world. The best results come from dedicated systems and well-trained staff operating in an environment free from conflicts of interest.”
We strongly recommend early medical management with injury triage on every workers’ compensation claim.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a 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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