It is essential to have a best-in-class injury response beyond reporting the work injury promptly. There are countless reasons why this is important. They include establishing injury reporting guidelines, ensuring the employee receives medical care and paying various workers’ compensation benefits. Other factors include preparing a worksheet to ensure all steps are covered and best practices are followed. When this is implemented, it can ensure that workers’ compensation program costs go down and increase employee morale.
Going Beyond the First Report of Injury
Many interested stakeholders in the workers’ compensation process believe their only responsibility to an injured employee is to complete the First Report of Injury on time and ensure it is correctly submitted to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This mentality is wrong and can lead to decreased companywide morale and increased workers’ compensation program costs. Instead, stakeholders interested in reduced workers’ compensation costs and employee morale can take additional steps to improve their programs and get employees back to work in a timely manner:
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- Establish a written policy and procedures guide for post-injury response: This document should be considered a “living document” that is reviewed and revised regularly and covers every aspect of the claim process with an emphasis on getting the employee back to work.
- Identify the roles and responsibilities of each party: Supervisors and managers play an important role in the post-injury response. This should include making sure the employee receives timely medical care and the employee is contacted promptly to answer questions about the process and express empathy.
- Concentrate on getting the injured employee back to work: Every step of the process should be employee-centric to get that person back to work promptly. This requires coordination and cooperation between the employer, insurance carrier, medical providers, and vocational rehabilitation specialists.
When these steps are taken and implemented in a consistent matter, everyone wins.
Take Two and Call Us in the Morning
Ensuring every injured employee effectively receiving timely medical care is key to any post-injury response. There are several steps that employer stakeholders can implement to make sure every work injury receives proper medical care.
- First Aid Kits: First aid kits need to be accessible and adequately stocked. This should be something that is checked at least every month.
- Access to Emergency Medical Care: There is no excuse for not summoning prompt emergency medical care given the accessibility of cell phones. Every employee should also feel comfortable to summon emergency medical care when needed.
- Triage Nurse Case Management: Interested stakeholders must consider the benefits of using triage nurse case management services. These triage nurses can be on call to answer questions, help assess an injury, and provide information so proper medical care can be received. These services come in best when stakeholders and employees have questions about what medical care the injured party should receive.
Now is the time to consider adding the above items and services to their accessible services to reduce workers’ compensation costs and provide proper injury response.
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Create Post-Injury Worksheet Protocols
Problems happen in any system when the same procedures are not followed. This is especially the case when it comes to injury response. Documents failed to get adequately filed, people are not contacted promptly, and the injured employee feels left out of the process. Although it may seem elementary, creating an injury response worksheet can pay dividends to the system and drive down workers’ compensation costs.
Under this worksheet, actions for critical steps are outlined:
- Reporting the work injury;
- Keeping interested stakeholders posted on claim developments;
- Proper injury response is best directed;
There are many important moments in the post-injury response that can help set the right direction of a workers’ compensation claim. These are opportunities to select the right tone and create the right environment that keeps all interested stakeholders and employees on the same page. By implementing the above steps, best practices can be consistently implemented and help reduce program costs and return the employee to work.
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 the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center, which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
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