Dealing With “Off-Work” Disability Doctor Notes

off work disability note“Off-Work” disability doctor notes from employees stipulate that employers allow injured workers to stay off work due to a work-related injury. These notes include such things a “work status note,” “off work slip,” “disability note,” or even a “functional capacity worksheet.”  While many disability notes are valid, sometimes these notes are vague and unclear why the employee still needs to be off work.

 

The purpose of disability slips is to advise the employer when the medical provider does not believe the injured employee can do any work in their current medical status or is able to work only in a restricted capacity.  Running an effective workers’ compensation program requires employers and other interested stakeholders have clarity, conform to the law, and help get that employee back to work promptly.

 

 

Demanding the Basics for Injured Employee Disability

 

The quality of the disability slips covers the spectrum from telling the employer everything about the injured employee’s injury and disability, to telling them nothing at all. The lack of uniformity can create issues for the employer in tracking the status of the injured employees.

 

Some jurisdictions have minimum requirements when it comes to disability slips following a work injury.  Florida’s Division of Workers Compensation mandates every medical provider use the same Medical Treatment Status Reporting Form, DWC-25.  This form serves two purposes.  It requires the health care provider to outline the functional status of an injured employee, and report their treatment plan.  Even if a jurisdiction does not require a form to be completed, the interested stakeholder can take proactive action to demand it.

 

 

Avoid Employee-Determined “Off-Work” Status

 

When the medical provider does not provide the “off-work” slip, and the employer does not ask, the employee becomes the person determining when the employee will return to work. This is not a good situation for all interested stakeholders and turns workers’ compensation into an entitlement program.  Proactive employers should require a disability slip be turned in by the employee after every medical appointment.  This information encourages timely return-to-work and holds everyone accountable.

 

In some jurisdictions, the state department overseeing the workers’ compensation program can help employers obtain this information.  In Minnesota, a Health Care Provider Report is required to be completed and returned within 10 days of receipt by a medical provider.  The Department of Labor and Industry will follow-up with medical providers when such form is submitted.  Failure to respond can result in a penalty being assessed against the medical provider.

 

 

Take Charge with the Medical Provider

 

If the medical provider treating the employee is sending an off-work slip that states “no work until seen by this office again,” with no further information, the employer needs to take charge and advise the medical provider’s office more information needs to be provided.   At a minimum, the off-work slip should provide the date of the next office visit and the employee’s current physical limitations.  Basic information that should always be included should have the following:

 

  • The employee’s name
  • The date of the office visit
  • Whether the office visit was work-related
  • Objective findings
  • Diagnosis and prognosis
  • The existence of a pre-existing condition
  • The specific nature of any functional limitations, for example:
    • No bending
    • No carrying over ____ pounds
    • No climbing
    • No kneeling
    • No lifting over _____ pounds
    • Standing limitation ________
    • Sitting limitation _________
    • Walking limitation _________
    • Other relevant limitations
  • Date of next office visit
  • Anticipated full duty date
  • Anticipated date of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
  • Date of next appointment
  • Anticipated treatment plan
  • Doctor or health care providers signature

 

 

Help Me, Help You!

 

Medical providers are in the business of providing medical care, and often have no knowledge about the employer’s business.  It is important for employers to let medical providers know about their business and the employee’s pre-injury position.  Relevant information to send can include a job description or video of the work the employee will be expected to perform.  This will allow the doctor or health care provider to better understand the employee’s job and its physical requirements.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Employers need to take the lead when it comes to returning employees to work following a work injury.  One important step in this process is making sure health care providers are properly completing disability slips with specifies about the employee’s restrictions and/or limitations.  By demanding this information, employers can receive a more honest assessment of the employee’s ability to work rather than letting the employee drive their time off work.  It will also reduce workers’ compensation program costs in the long run.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Protecting the Injured Employee in Workers’ Compensation is Paramount

injured employee workers' compensationThe injured employee is the reason workers’ compensation laws exist.  Without employees and their sacrifice, businesses would not accomplish their goal.  Now is the time for every member of the claim management team to approach claims with this critical mindset.

 

 

Forget the Golden Rule – Follow the Platinum Rule!

 

The “Golden Rule” taught us to “treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated.”  This is a common denominator handed down in both secular and religious societies. The problem with this Rule when applied to workers’ compensation claims is it view things from the perspective of the claim handler.  Now is the time for members of the claim management team to put themselves in the shoes of the injured employee, and follow the Platinum Rule – To treat others as you would want to be treated!

 

By adopting this mindset, one will realize the following:

 

  • Being a true professional in every sense of the word is essential;

 

  • Treating all employees – regardless of ability with the respect and dignity they deserve is essential; and

 

  • Engaging every claim with good faith, fair dealing, and placing ethics at the pinnacle of every decision is essential.

 

 

Protecting the Injured Employee Through Injury Prevention

 

Members of the claim management team can be proactive when it comes to preventing injuries in the workplace.  This can include educating their insureds on best safety practices.  Their obligations also extend to their post-injury response.  Here are some important steps include in every workers’ compensation claim:

 

  • Avoid unfair claims practices and bad faith denials;

 

  • Complete a timely and thorough investigation of all injuries;

 

  • Not exploited the financial vulnerabilities of policyholders;

 

  • Not make unreasonable demands on the policyholder during the claim process; and

 

  • Take all reasonable steps to preserve evidence.

 

Employers also play a role in this process.  It must include promoting a culture of safety.  Steps should include:

 

 

  • Allow regular breaks for employee – especially those performing repetitive tasks;

 

  • Ensure the proper use of machinery, tools, and safety equipment – never cut corners; and

 

  • Lead by example!

 

 

Getting the Injured Employee Back to Work

 

Interested stakeholders need to take the lead on return-to-work issues and dispel the common myths that prevent employers from protecting their MVPs.  Common misconceptions of injured employees include:

 

  • Injured employees are lazy – they sit around all day and do nothing;

 

  • Injured employees would rather stay at home;

 

  • Injured employees will only get re-injured – we need to get a voluntary resignation on every workers’ compensation claim; and

 

  • Injured workers receiving Social Security Disability are not allowed to return-to-work.

 

 

FACT: A vast majority of injured employees would rather get back to work.  Getting them back to work can reduce program costs. 

 

 

The challenge of effective return-to-work requires all interested stakeholders to move past the physical, educational, medical, and emotional barriers inherent in the workers; compensation system.  Important steps to consider include:

 

  • Communication with the injured worker. This can include having a dedicated liaison for any employee off work.  Employers can buy goodwill by returning phone calls from an employee not able to work due to restriction.  They should also be proactive in initiating contact with an employee.

 

  • Communication with treating doctor. A return-to-work liaison can also serve as a point of contact with the employee’s treating physician.  This can also include making certain communications between the physician and workers’ compensation insurer is taking place.

 

  • Providing legitimate written job offers. The requirements of job offers vary in each jurisdiction.  It is important specific elements are satisfied.  There are other legal requirements where consultation with an attorney may help facilitate this objective.

 

Interested stakeholders should also consider learning more about, and implementing a “Work on Loan” program, or hiring an injured employee through the Social Security Administration’s “Ticket to Work” program.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Employees are of paramount importance to every workers’ compensation program.  Treat them respect and dignity.  To run an effective and efficient program, interested stakeholders need to understand their claims, assess and evaluate risks, and look for opportunities to engage all parties in the process.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

Quick Claim Reporting – The Workers’ Comp Silver Bullet

quick claim reporting in workers' compensationNearly every claims management team is looking for the silver bullet to cure all their workers’ comp issues.  Many vendor services will claim to be this solution, but there is only one that doesn’t cost any money – quick claim reporting.

 

The origins of the term “silver bullet” is derived from Philip of Macedonia (the father of Alexander the Great), and the belief the element contains magical properties that can kill just about anything, including supernatural beings.  It later gained fame in American folklore in the 1930s with the tales of the Lone Ranger – who used silver bullets to dispense justice in the Wild West.

 

Like the Lone Ranger, members of the claim management team are charged with the responsibility of pursuing justice as they manage claims.  This includes educating clients on best practices to improve program efficiency and reduce costs.

 

 

Remove Quick Claim Reporting Barriers

 

The failure to report a work injury remains a barrier in many programs.  This is driven by the concern employers have when filing claims – they fear negative changes to their “experience rating modification.”  The result will be increased premiums or losing coverage, and being forced into a state’s assigned risk plan pool.

 

When educating employers on the claims process, it is important to reiterate the following points and encourage prompt reporting of all work injuries:

 

  • Statutory requirements an employer purchase insurance. Do not be afraid to use it.  Insurance is a necessary cost of doing business;

 

  • Highlight your program’s claim management toolbox. This includes post-injury response, return-to-work/transitional job placement, medical cost containment and medical care coordination.  Prompt investigation and reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse are also important; and

 

  • Education on reporting requirements. This should include information on how prompt reporting of work injuries can reduce penalties by a state industrial commission, which in turn impacts your workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

 

 

Impact of Late Claim Reporting

 

There are many significant problems caused by late reporting in the workers’ compensation process.  Effective members of the claim management team can serve as a resource when it comes to this process.  This starts with encouraging employers to report their known claims in a timely manner.

 

  • Penalties: Industrial commissions generally monitor all required filings and the compliance department will issue penalties according to statute or rule.  Most jurisdictions place an emphasis on the timely reporting of claims and prompt payment.  This includes a graduated penalty system will impose sanctions on the insured and insurer when reporting is not done.  The fines increase based upon the frequency of late reports, including the First Report of Injury, and late payment of workers’ compensation benefits to the employee; and

 

  • Increased claim costs: Studies from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) demonstrate delayed reporting increases costs to a program in other ways.  According to this report, the median cost of a workers’ compensation claim increased dramatically if it was not reported within two weeks from the date of the injury – generally an increase of up to 51%.   These claims were also found to be subject to more litigation, which included the use of an attorney.  The report also determined quicker reporting allows for a better and more complete investigation.

 

 

Improved Claims Investigation Techniques

 

An effective investigation of any work injury must start with the employer.  This includes preserving the accident scene, making sure the injury is documented correctly and evidence is not destroyed.  From a claims management perspective, this can be frustrating as claim handlers are not included until after the fact.  They can be proactive in promoting efficiency by helping their client’s in order to do a more complete job.

 

 

  • Preparation of work injury investigation kits. Items in these kits should include forms to document the injury, checklists to make sure all relevant information is is logged correctly and reminders to preserve evidence.  Taking photographs is often a must; and

 

  • Preservation of evidence. This can include defective equipment or documentation of floors, stairs or work  This can matter when it comes to subrogation efforts down the road.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Members of the claims management team should use the “silver bullet” of quick claim reporting to drive down program costs and provide outstanding service.  Part of the process must including educating all interested stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system to identify areas of improvement.  By taking these steps, a program can be cost-effective and efficient.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

3 Essential Elements to Supervisor Response That Will Save 40 Percent

 

On-Demand-Blog-Ad-Supervisor

 

Can you name the one person throughout the course of a worker’s comp claim that within about 10 to 15 minutes of work can reduce your work comp cost, claim cost, by 40%, and reduce the duration by 58%? Hello, my name is Michael Stack, I’m the CEO of AMAX. And the one person I’m talking about is your supervisor. And according to Liberty Mutual Research Institute, some studies that they did, the impact of that supervisor, of how they respond to the claim when the employee initially reports it to them, if they respond positively and appropriately can reduce your claim costs, what they showed through research, by 40%. And reduce your duration by 58%. Pretty dramatic numbers for a short period of time.

 

 

Train Supervisors Doesn’t Have to be Difficult

 

So, what we need to do is we need to train these supervisors to respond appropriately. And really it’s not all that difficult. Only a couple of things that they need to know, they need to remember, they need to do at that time of injuring. And I’m going to lay these out for you here.

 

 

#1 Demonstrate Care

 

The first thing they need to do is they need to demonstrate care. Demonstrate care. “Hey, John, I’m sorry you got injured. What can I do to help?” And then listen and problem solve. Demonstrate care, listen, and problem solve.

 

 

#2 Give Employee Privacy

 

Number two then is you need to get them to a private place. You’re injured, you’re feeling a little bit vulnerable when you report that injury. You don’t want to check out your rib injury in front of all your gawping coworkers. So when that person is injured, take them to a private place. Bring them into the supervisor’s office, bring them into a first aid room if your organization has one. Take them to a private place so they can address their injury, get their wits back about them, and be able to move forward from there.

 

 

#3 Help Employee Obtain Medical Care

 

And then number three then is of course, get medical care. Get them the medical attention that they need. Best practice here is to use an injury triage provider, use an injury triage hotline, or an onsite clinic. More likely in most cases it’s going to be calling that nurse via telephonic care, through an injury triage provider. You give that nurse a call, it takes the onus off the supervisor, to have to make the decision of what to do. “Oh, you hurt your shoulder. I don’t know if that’s really a bad injury or not a bad injury.”

 

Have that nurse through the triage provider direct that person to the appropriate level of care. The way your supervisor responds to an injury can impact your costs by 40%, and your duration by 58%. This is something you need to pay attention to, and teach your supervisors how to do it appropriately.

 

Again, my name is Michael Stack, CEO of AMAX. And remember, your work today in workers compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line. But it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. So, be great.

 

 

 

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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The 5 Building Blocks Of a Positive Corporate Culture: Part III

Strong company culture is not only a pleasant place to work, but it has also been associated with better financial success. Such companies also have fewer workplace injuries, better employee engagement when there are injuries, and quicker return-to-work rates.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Vulnerability and Purpose are the final two building blocks of a positive corporate culture in our 3 part series.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

  • Vulnerability

 

Showing your vulnerability goes a long way in gaining trust from others. It puts you on the same level as the other person.

 

A dramatic example of the power of vulnerability came during an airline tragedy in 1989. United flight 232 was about an hour out of Denver en route to Chicago when the engine in the tail of the DC-10 blew, destroying the three hydraulic systems pilots use to move flight control surfaces and steer the plane.  While 111 people were killed, 185 survived — largely because of the efforts of a DC-10 instructor who happened to be on the plane flying home for the weekend.

 

Trained for catastrophic failures, Dennis Fitch told the flight crew “tell me what you want and I’ll help you.”  The pilot and two co-pilots put Fitch to work helping to bring down the plane. None of the flight crew worried about their status or that of Fitch; they were focused only on working collaboratively and trying any and every idea possible.

 

 

Response in Workers’ Comp is Typically Rigid

 

The workers’ compensation industry’s response to injured workers is typically very rigid. Physical restrictions are set and those handling the claim dictate what happens each step of the way. Think about how that could be different if there were collaboration and stakeholders made themselves vulnerable to the injured worker.

 

What if the employer, nurse case manager, or claims handler said to the injured worker, ‘tell me what you want and I’ll help you.’ Such a small shift in attitude demonstrates that you are a partner with the injured worker, rather than an adversary. Offering to pick up something from the office, or call a family member, or even getting a glass of water could be seen as helping.

 

Such collaboration could extend to return-to-work efforts. Instead of simply relying on the medical restrictions, you could say to the worker ‘tell me what you think you can do, and we’ll develop lite duty work.’ It’s a way of working with the injured worker, instead of being on opposite sides. It starts with vulnerability.

 

 

  • Purpose

 

All the other building blocks to a winning corporate culture come down to purpose; that is, what is the purpose or reason a company exists? What is the purpose of employees who go to the organization every day? Ideally, it is to work for something larger than just ourselves.

 

 

Majority of Workers Do Not Have Greater Purpose

 

The Gallop poll showing the engagement — or lack of — among employees in their work shows the majority of workers do not have a greater purpose in mind each day. It even showed that 18 percent of employees were actively disengaged and would go out of their way to do something that would negatively impact their companies. By using the previous four steps to create a caring, compassionate, strong culture, companies can change the attitudes of their employees.

 

As demonstrated in the study of preschoolers who were drawing, motivation must come from within. External rewards, such as additional money, are the least impactful.

 

The Nordstrom company has a great example of how an organization encourages purpose among its workers. The single rule told to employees is; Use good judgment at all time. That speaks not only to the company’s well known excellent customer service but also extends to how injured workers and their claims are managed. Managers, supervisors and injured workers all know what their purpose it.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Employees who are not only allowed but encouraged to work outside the rules and be creative are much more likely to feel a stronger sense of connection appreciation and connectedness to their organizations. Autonomy, mastery, belonging, vulnerability and purpose are the building blocks to create a winning corporate culture in which workers take pride, leading to fewer injuries and faster return-to-work.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The 5 Building Blocks Of a Positive Corporate Culture: Part II

Strong company culture is not only a pleasant place to work, but it has also been associated with better financial success. Such companies also have fewer workplace injuries, better employee engagement when there are injuries, and quicker return-to-work rates.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Mastery and Belonging are two of the five building blocks of a positive corporate culture.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Vulnerability and Purpose are the final two building blocks of a positive corporate culture in our 3 part series.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

  • Mastery

 

Pride in doing something well is one of the highest factors that motivates human beings. The proof of this has been borne out by several studies, including one involving preschoolers in 1970.

Children who were found to spend much of their free time drawing were divided into three groups:

 

  1. Group one students were told they would receive a blue ribbon with their name on it if they continued to draw
  2. Group 2 students were not told in advance, but received an unexpected ribbon for continuing to draw
  3. Group 3 students were neither offered nor given any reward

 

The group that continued to draw the most every day was not the first group. The promise of a blue ribbon was not a good incentive for them. In fact, the frequency of their drawing decreased. The second and third group drew the most. The reason: their motivation to draw came from within, rather than externally.

 

The same is true for adults in companies. Those who are offered more compensation or other incentives often do worse than others because their own drive to accomplish whatever the goal is has been diminished. Building a winning corporate culture involves empowering people to do their best work because they want to.

 

The workers’ compensation system is often an enemy of a strong corporate culture. Rather than feeling empowered and in control, injured workers are typically forced to adhere to a multitude of rules and regulations and given little to no voice in their own situations. Organizations can change that attitude by including injured workers in discussions about their claims and medical care and helping them feel like they too are part of the solution.

 

One idea is to ask an injured worker what he believes he can do work-wise while he recovers. This takes some pressure off supervisors to find light duty work and helps the injured worker feel more motivated to do something he wants.

 

 

  • Belonging

 

All of us need a sense of belonging. Whether it is to a relationship or organization, we want to feel like we are part of something bigger. Companies with strong cultures know this and leverage many strategies to foster it.

 

The power of inclusion has been shown in Australian studies of patients treated for suicide attempts. Following their release from hospitals, some of the patients were sent a series of postcards expressing support.

 

The idea of the postcards was simply to increase social connectedness, to create a concrete expression that someone still cares about the patient. They included statements such as, “it’s been a short time since your visit and we hope things are going well for you. If you wish to drop us a note, we’d be happy to hear from you.”

 

The researchers found that the low-cost postcard intervention reduced the number of suicidal attempts per individual by nearly 50 percent, which they described as “clinically and statistically significant.”

 

Employees also respond well to gestures that show they are a part of the organization. Such actions let workers know they are noticed and valued by others in the company.

Employers don’t need to spend large amounts of money or other resources to foster a sense of belonging. What is key is the continuous reinforcement of these measures.

These can include:

 

  • A get well card sent to an injured worker as soon as possible.
  • A phone call or visit with the injured worker the day he is injured or the next day.
  • Weekly contact with the injured worker, to discuss his situation and needs.
  • A small bouquet of flowers sent weekly, rather than a large bouquet sent just one time.
  • A small, $5 gift card for Starbucks.

 

Reinforcing the sense of belonging is vital — for all employees but especially for injured workers who are inherently feeling left out. One risk manager decided to increase the connectedness of injured workers by taking each of them out to lunch while they recovered. Out of 12 employees, 10 were back at work within two weeks.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Feeling like we are a part of something greater than ourselves is something all humans desire. When the work environment promotes this, employees are more engaged and motivated to be the very best they can be for their organizations. Using the 5 strategies to improve a company’s culture can go a long way to making this happen.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

The 5 Building Blocks Of A Positive Corporate Culture: Part I

Why do employees go to work every day at a particular organization? Is it the paycheck? The people? The work itself? Or something else entirely — the environment, perhaps?

 

If it’s the company culture, you’re in business! It means your employees are more likely to stay for the long term, less likely to incur injuries, more willing to cooperate and engage in their healing if they are injured, and unlikely to stay out of work for very long. A strong, positive corporate culture is key to keeping workers happy — especially if and when they are injured.

 

Savvy organizations understand that and know the 5 strategies that must be carefully implemented to create a winning corporate culture.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

 

  1. Autonomy/Safe Culture

 

Micromanaging people and forcing them to adhere to strict sets of rules and regulations do not produce creative, out-of-the-box thinking that puts companies ahead of the competition.  What is needed is effective collaboration among workers. Synergy is the key.

 

Groups of workers can achieve amazing results when they feel safe to share their ideas and are focused more on working together rather than one-upping other workers. This has been proven in the popular, Marshmallow Design Challenge.

 

Design engineer Peter Skillman came up with the idea of looking at group interaction through an exercise replicated at many companies. It begins with four components:

 

  1. 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
  2. One yard of tape
  3. One yard of string
  4. One marshmallow

 

Teams of 4 each are given 18 minutes to create the tallest possible free-standing structure using only those ingredients. Skillman and others have undertaken the study with many groups; such as CEOs, lawyers, recent business school graduates, and kindergarteners. The winners are always, hands down, the kindergarteners. Their structures are on average 26 inches tall. Among the worst performers are recent MBAs, with a dismal average structure of just 10 inches.

 

 

5-Year Old are Better at Collaboration Than Business Students & CEOs

 

Why are 5-year-olds better at collaboration than other, older more experienced groups? As Skillman himself has said; “none of the kids spend any time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti, Inc.”

 

It is not that the kindergarteners have better skills than those in the other groups, it is that they interact more effectively. The business school students are engaged in managing their statuses within the group, figuring out where each fits into the picture. Instead of focusing on the task, they are spending their energy on the pecking order of the group. By contrast, the kindergarteners work together enthusiastically, trying new ideas, moving quickly, and helping one another toward the solution.

 

Navy SEALs work together in much the same way. Each is dependent on the success of the other. If one fails, they all fail — or even die.

 

Creating an atmosphere where workers feel free to truly share their input without fear of repercussions requires breaking down silos and encouraging each and every person in the organization to speak up. Employees who feel valued by a company are more apt to feel comfortable contributing to the greater good. Skillman suggests the following to help workers feel autonomous and safe:

 

  • Allow them to learn by doing and discovering problems that can’t be predicted in advance.
  • Simultaneous iteration enables a free flow of good ideas.
  • Multiple iterations usually beat a commitment to making the very first idea work; i.e., practice makes perfect
  • Encourage wild ideas.

 

Organizations can encourage autonomy by giving employees time on which to work on something not necessarily related to their normal jobs, but something they are interested in doing. This helps set expectations and can also lead to the creation of light duty work for workers who become injured.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Employees who are not only allowed but encouraged to work outside the rules and be creative are much more likely to feel a stronger sense of connection appreciation and connectedness to their organizations. In addition to autonomy; mastery, belonging, vulnerability and purpose are the building blocks to create a winning corporate culture in which workers take pride, leading to fewer injuries and faster returns-to-work. Parts II & III take a look at those strategies.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Be The “Maverick” of Your Workers’ Comp Program

 

Hey there, Michael Stack here, CEO of Amaxx. This past weekend, over the Labor Day Weekend, my family and I spent a couple days in Washington DC, our nation’s capital. Now, our visit happened to coincide with the funeral services for Senator John McCain, to honor his life and his legacy.

 

 

Senator McCain Was Maverick of the Senate

 

Now Senator McCain was known as the maverick of the senates. Now, there were several reasons for that and very specific, instances where he earned that nock name and that reputation. But, the primary reason was, Senator McCain did things differently and took a path often different than the way things had always been done.

 

Senator McCain earned that reputation, earned that nick name as maverick because he did things differently than the way things had always been done. It earned him a tremendous life and a tremendous and highly respected career. If you look at your organization and worker’s compensation, I want to speak to very specific practices that may be happening within your company, very negative practices.

 

 

Do Things Differently Than Have Always Been Done

 

First one is punishing injured workers for filing claims, punishing injured workers for filing claims. The other side is encouraging injured workers, or encouraging employees not to file a claim at all. You may know in your heart, and of course, there’s tremendous data and research to back this up, that that’s not the right thing to do.

 

You’re serving up high workers comp cost, you’re serving up poor injured worker outcomes on a silver platter to your organization by doing either one or both of these two practices. But,it;s the way it’s always been done at your organization. I want to encourage today to take inspiration from Senator McCain’s life and legacy to change those practices. Those two very specific practices, to change those practices within your organization because when you do, you’ll be putting your program on the right track. To improve those injured worker outcomes and drastically drive down your worker’s comp cost.

 

Get on Michael Stack, CEO of Amaxx and remember, your work today and worker’s compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, but it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life, so be great.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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 .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The Four Phases of Employer Involvement In A Workers’ Comp Claim

The Four Phases of Employer Involvement In A Workers’ Comp Claim

As an employer, you often hear the recommendation “stay involved in your workers’ compensation claims.” That is great advice, but way too often it’s where the discussion ends without any explanation as to what “staying involved” means.

 

 

Four Phases of Employer Involvement in Workers’ Comp Claim

 


The employer’s involvement in the workers’ comp claim begins before the injury occurs and ends when the employee is back at work, fully recovered from the injury. Let’s first look at four phases of employer’s involvement in the workers’ comp claim, then we will look at what the employer cannot do in regards to the workers’ comp claims.

 

The four phases are:

 

  1. Pre-injury process
  2. The injury occurrence
  3. The claim process
  4. The claim settlement

 

If you have employees, sooner or later an employee is injured on the job. The following are some suggestions about what you can do prior to the injury occurring that will impact on the outcome of the workers’ comp claim. Make sure you have “touch points” for each phase of the claim.

 

Here is an example of what is appropriate:

 

  • Provide each new hire with an employee accident brochure outlining what the employee should do in case of an accidental injury.

 

  • Have a written transitional duty policy.

 

  • Provide each supervisor within the company a written guide on how they are to report and be involved in workers comp claims.

 

  • Post the injury procedure policy where all employees will see it.

 

  • Have a published returned to work policy.

 

  • Have a strong safety program and tie the manager’s performance evaluation, raise, bonus or promotion to his or her safety record.

 

  • Have a medical provider network in place through your insurance company or join a medical provider network for self-insureds. Make sure all employees know about and use the network. This is called your “penetration” — you should have a penetration rate of > than 90%.

 

  • Prevent fraud by letting all employees know workers comp fraud takes money away from their raises and bonuses.

 

  • Put up posters reminding the employee that workers comp fraud is a crime and will be fully prosecuted.

 

  • Post all the state required notices in a place convenient for all employees to see including workers comp laws, OSHA posters and anything else required in your state.

 

  • Post a list of the required medical providers (where allowed by state statute) or recommended medical facilities (in the states where the employee is allowed to select their own doctor). Consider using an outcome-based network where providers with exemplary performance are included in the network.

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:.

Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Get Management Buy-In for Your Workers’ Compensation Program

5 Ways to Get Management Buy-In for Your Workers’ Compensation ProgramTo have a successful, effective workers’ compensation program requires commitment from the entire organization, starting at the very top. Leaders must not only endorse the program but be engaged as well, for it to be of value to the company.

 

A lack of management support will be apparent to the rest of the workforce which won’t share your goals. But there are steps you can take to get leaders to fully embrace your injury management plan.

 

  1. Speak their language

 

Getting the attention of management is largely a numbers game. Those in the C-suite need to understand the dollars and cents of an effective workers’ compensation program.

 

  1. Play on what is important.

 

  • Find out what matters most. Every organization has some way to determine its financial success. Find out what metric resonates most; the figure management discusses with shareholders, the board of directors or other senior managers. This could be
    • EBITDA: The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This is the company’s net income with interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization added back in. It eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions. It shows the company’s current operating profitability, or how much profit it makes with its current assets and its operations on the products it produces and sells, as well as providing a proxy for cash flow.
    • Net income number. This refers to the profit made after the company subtracts its expenses. Where revenue is the company’s total sales and is known as the top line, net income is called the bottom line, or the company’s earnings.
    • Revenue from operations. This is the income generated from an organization’s daily core business operations and is also called operating revenue. It is the revenue posted from selling the company’s products and services.

 

  • Calculate the potential savings. This requires figuring out the cost of a full-time equivalent employee, then determining the possible savings from reductions in workers’ compensation costs. For example, if the important metric is the EBITDA and you know that the cost per FTE over the past three years has been going up, cutting that number in half could potentially reduce the EBITDA number by X percent. You want to use the company’s most important metric to frame the amount of revenue the organization must generate to cover its workers’ compensation losses.

 

  • Define the impact of a claim. Either by your own calculations or through e-mod software.

 

  • Compare the cost of a claim to the expense of something the company wants. Say your company had a recent workers’ compensation claim that cost $575,000 and the company needs certain equipment that costs $500,000. Explain that improvements in your company’s injury management program could have prevented that claim to show the money for the equipment could have been available.

 

  1. Produce evidence of wastefulness. Whether it is outright fraud or just a lax attitude toward safety, management responds to pictures and videos of employees that translate to a culture of uncaring about the organization’s resources.

 

  1. Present the numbers. A well-run return-to-work program keeps injured workers on the job or gets them back to work quicker. But company leaders may not truly believe that unless you show them real numbers from research:

 

  • Up to 80 percent of lost work days are unnecessary.
  • Injured workers out of work and receiving indemnity payments are 4X more likely to have an unsatisfactory outcome. The same research found that employees with similar injuries who either stayed on the job or returned sooner had better outcomes.
  • The chances of an injured worker returning to the workforce in any capacity drops by 50 percent after 12 weeks of being out of work.

 

  1. Give hiring advice. Management will be more apt to listen to you if you can present a way to avoid hiring the company’s next workers’ compensation claim. An easy, fairly inexpensive way to make sure the right people get hired is through an integrity test, such as the Merchant’s Integrity Test.

 

This is not a personality test nor does it require complex algorithms to interpret the results. The questions are direct and aimed at predicting the likelihood of problem behaviors from the person.

 

There are 50 questions that have been vetted and updated. According to psychologists who have studied the test, it works because people who engage in ongoing risky behaviors eventually rationalize their behaviors and come to believe there is nothing wrong with their conduct. More than 90 percent of applicants tell the truth about their high-risk behaviors.

 

Avoiding problem hires is one of the best ways of reducing workers’ compensation costs. Tests from Cornell University and elsewhere have indicated applicants who took and passed the test had half as many workers’ compensation claims as those who did not take it.

 

 

Summary

 

Having an injury management program may sound like a good idea to managers, but to understand its true value to the company requires looking at the numbers. Taking those numbers to management to frame a conversation that is meaningful to the organization can get leaders to be onboard with your program.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

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