Lack of coordination following a work injury costs employers and insurance carriers countless dollars every year. When there is a lack of a coordinated response, there is a duplication of efforts, steps do not occur, and claims linger. Proactive members of the claim management team can work with their employer clients on developing and implementing an Injury Response Coordinator. When used as part of a company’s best practices, this person can promptly ensure that all steps are taken, and claims are moved toward settlement. The result is an immediate reduction in workers’ compensation program costs and increased efficiency.
What is an Injury Response Coordinator?
An injury response coordinator is an organization responsible for implementing an employer’s effective response to a work injury. Essentially, they are a “jack of all trades” who can implement injury management techniques and move a claim toward settlement.
There are several core responsibilities of an injury response coordinator. Some of the more critical roles or functions of this person include:
- Implementation of injury response technology to ensure timely and accurate reporting of work injuries;
- Familiar with all policies and procedures that relate to workplace safety and injury management such as return to work policies, traditional jobs and written job offers, accident and injury investigation, and workplace morale;
- Identify “pain points” in the workers’ compensation process and ensure a holistic approach with empathy toward the injured employee.
The most important responsibility of the injury response coordinator is to be a great communicator. This includes written and verbal communication skills – the mouthpiece that can promote workplace safety and prevent injuries.
Drive Company Culture in Work Comp
A successful injury response coordinator must also be able to impact and change company culture for the better. This is especially in workers’ compensation where suspicious run high and there is a certain level of anxiety by all. Areas where the culture can be changed, include:
- Ensuring that safety training is provided and the message is reinforced by concrete actions at all levels of management;
- Approaching all injured employees with empathy and compassion;
- Assurance that all injured employees will receive immediate and coordinated medical care; and
- Follow-up with the employee by doing simple things such as sending out a “get well soon” card and regular follow-up.
An injury response coordinator can also be involved in return-to-work matters.
Implementation of Procedures for Stakeholders
It is also imperative that the injury response coordinator develops policies and procedures that engage all interested stakeholders following an injury. These procedures need to engage all parties in a step-by-step manner to ensure nothing is missed:
- Injured employee: Ensure the employee knows how to report a work injury promptly. This may include the use of a web-based portal or telephonic service.
- Supervisor: Equip all supervisors and members of management with the resources to provide employees related to workers’ compensation matters. This may also include training on how to complete and submit a First Report of Injury. It is also vital they receive training in first aid and coordination with a telephonic triage nurse to coordinate medical care.
- Witnesses: Supervisors, management, and the safety committee should have complete information on how and when to conduct interviews with witnesses. Training should also be provided on how to preserve and document evidence related to a work injury.
- Physician: A skilled injury coordinator can also work with the treating physician on providing best-in-class medical care. They can assist with directing the injured employee to the employer’s network of healthcare providers to contain medical costs. Involvement with the selection and timing of an independent medical examination is also vital.
The goal of using an injury coordinator is to ensure that nothing is missed and everything is taken care of – “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.” When this occurs, a higher level of efficiency and care will be taken on claims. It will also ensure the insurance carrier is better positioned to make the best decisions on a matter.
Injury coordinators play an important role in the workers’ compensation claim process. When used in a claim, there is increased efficiency in the handling of a claim. It also allows for it to be positioned for success and avoid missing the essential details. When used correctly, there will be an improved response to work injuries and better results on claims.
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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