To reduce program costs, there are countless tools for interested stakeholders in workers’ compensation programs. One idea that is not often utilized is a medical care coordinator. This coordinator can serve many functions and assist the claim handler in providing better care for the injured employee and reducing workers’ compensation program costs. It is never too late to consider this option when looking for innovative ways to improve your program.
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Finding the Right Fit for the Position
The perfect match for a medical care coordinator is up to each organization. Ideally, this is someone with a medical background and a suitable bedside manner. Many nurses, nurse practitioners, or other advanced mid-level practitioners fit the bill. They understand medical terminology, have experience providing care to individuals, and are great at creating creative solutions.
A medical care coordinator should never substitute the role of a doctor or medical director. Simply put, this is a position for someone who can communicate medical information, help direct care and get the injured employee back to work.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Medical Care Coordinator
There are many roles and uses for a medical care coordinator. Some of the primary duties should include:
- Provide direction and assistance in obtaining medical information regarding the status of an injured employee and being a part of the process for directing future medical care;
- Communicating with all interested stakeholders regarding the severity of the work injury, determining if light-duty work is possible, and assisting managers and supervisors regarding activities within the treating doctor’s restrictions;
- Provide information to the injured employee regarding the workers’ compensation process and benefits available under the statutory framework; and
- Monitoring medical care and bills associated with those services.
This is not a complete list of duties for a medical care coordinator. The key is for this person to think outside the box and ensure the employee receives the best medical care possible while not excessive costs. The coordinator must work with the medical director and inform that person at all times.
The Bottom Line – Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs
The main goal of a medical care coordinator is to coordinate with the claim management team to get the injured employee back to work and reduce medical costs. Other areas the medical care coordinator can focus on include:
- Coordinate with the claim handler and claim management team on best practices and file handling instructions;
- Assist on safety-related issues within the workplace and ensure they are being implemented:
- Review and bolster injury reporting policies and procedures; and
- Assist with return to work efforts.
There are various other roles a medical care coordinator can assist and improve. The goal should always be in focus – run a better workers’ compensation program.
Other Intangible Benefits
There are also other roles a medical costs coordinator can reduce workers’ compensation program costs. This mainly focuses on the human element of any workers’ compensation claim. They can also help build workplace morale and demonstrate to others that all employees are valuable.
- Send a “get well soon” card. Nothing says you care than sending a simple card to someone hurt at work. It adds the human element to a system based on numbers, multipliers, and complex rules.
- At-home visits with injured employees. In addition to focusing on the human element of workers’ compensation, it also allows employers and other interested stakeholders to get a better picture of what is going on in the employee’s life and identify barriers to returning to work.
- Coordination of return to work efforts. This position can also create opportunities by identifying transferable job skills and understanding the real opportunities for light duty or full duty work.
Now is the time to consider the human element by adding a medical care coordinator to your workers’ compensation program.
Interested stakeholders should be willing to consider the addition of a medical care coordinator to their workers’ compensation program. Adding the right health care professional to the team and improving program efficiency when assisting and communicating with others regarding a claim. They can also help add the human element to the process with respect and dignity. The result will help drive efficiency through creativity.
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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