The Best Tidbits of News from the Workers Comp Community

 

For 20 years, the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo has been the industry's leading training event. It offers cutting-edge, yet practical solutions for your workers' comp, disability management and RTW programs. This year's event is promised to take it to the next level – see the agenda posted here.

 

 

A "permanently disabled" person finds his way back to ability

Watch this inspirational video posted to the Workers Comp Roundtable by Dr. Marianne Cloeren, Medical Director at Managed Care Advisors. She states "This video is worth the time to watch. The transformation of this disabled vet is inspirational. Here is our challenge: how can we help the clients/claimants/ patients/injured workers (people) we work with grasp that the power to change rests within them?"[WCx]

 

 

VIDEO: Never Give Up 

 

Lexis Nexis Communities Top Stories:

 

Posted by
The AMA Guides generally disfavors grip loss as a measurement for rating a whole person impairment (WPI). (See AMA Guides Fifth Edition, page 508.) However, a series of recent WCAB panel decisions indicate that there may be circumstances when the grip loss metric is the most accurate tool for assessing an injured worker’s (WPI). Use of the grip loss measurement generally results in a much higher permanent disability (PD) rating for the injured worker.  Read More…

 

 

Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Civil Action Against Supervisor Moves Forward

Posted by

Larson's Spotlight

Larson's Spotlight on Civil Action Against Co-Employee, Exclusive Remedy, Volunteer Status, and Causation Involving Fatal Overdose. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer forLarson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.  Read More…

 

 
Posted by
The Social Madness corporate challenge has kicked off, and LexisNexis is one of 60 Dayton-area companies selected to compete in this social media competition hosted by the Dayton Business Journal and its parent, American City Business Journals.
The three national winners of the challenge will be able to designate a favorite charity to receive a $10,000 donation.  Read More…

 

Posted by
The most disturbing conclusion that the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) presented in a webinar entitled “Use of Narcotics and Compliance with Guidelines” was that many workers’ compensation claimants (claimants) who were prescribed narcotics were not provided recommended services for monitoring and managing long-term use of those drugs. These services included overseeing that use and treating its ill effects.
Other major findings were:
1) Most claimants who were prescribed pain medication for compensable harm were prescribed narcotics; and
2) Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and New York had particularly high usages of narcotics.


Workers' Compensation Roundtable Passes 5,000 Member Mark

We reached an important milestone this week, and we want to once again thank you for your continued efforts in building what we believe to be an excellent group. We passed the 5,000 member mark this week, only the 2nd workers' comp group ever to do so on LinkedIn. 

In fact, we've added 4,500 members in just the last 18 months, and if you search Groups here on LinkedIn for "workers' compensation", you will find we are the #1 result they return. The Group Search page was "recently updated to make it easier for you to find the most valuable places to network", and at the time of the upgrade they announced that they made these determinations on the "relevance and quality" of the discussions in the groups. Showing up first in that search result is a huge compliment for our community! Read More…[WCx]


Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

$39 Million in Illness Compensation Further Clarified

The U.S. Department of Labor said recently it is notifying former Weldon Spring Plant workers in Weldon Spring, Mo., of a change in the status of their work site in connection with the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

 

The department’s Office of Workers Compensation Programs has published a revised list of EEOICPA-covered U.S. Department of Energy facilities in the Federal Register. This update divides the Weldon Spring Plant site into three separate facilities: the Weldon Spring Plant, the Weldon Spring Caffeinate Pits and the Weldon Spring Quarry. [WCx]

 

By dividing the Weldon Spring Plant into three separate DOE facilities, OWCP will be better able to distinguish between the different operational periods of these locations and more reliably obtain employment verification from the many different contractors that performed work at each location.

 

Former Weldon Spring Plant employees may be eligible for EEOICPA compensation and medical benefits if they were diagnosed with a covered illness and worked at one of the three facilities during a period of covered employment.

 

The Labor Department administers Part B of the EEOICPA. Part B covers current and former workers diagnosed with cancer, beryllium disease or silicosis caused by exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica while working directly for the DOE, that department’s contractors or subcontractors, a designated Atomic Weapons Employer or a beryllium vendor. Part E, created by an amendment to the EEOICPA on Oct. 28, 2004, provides federal compensation and medical benefits to DOE contractors and subcontractors who worked at covered facilities and sustained an illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances.[WCx]

 

To date, the department has paid more than $39 million in EEOICPA compensation and medical benefits to 354 Weldon Spring Plant workers and more than $7.9 billion nationwide.

 

For additional information or for claim-filing assistance, individuals can contact the department’s Paducah Resource Center in Kentucky toll-free at 866-534-0599.  See also article on  The Employee Energy Occupational Illness Compensation Program 

 

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Are Doctors Missing Asthma Caused On The Job

New guidance launched recently in Great Britain calls on doctors to explore the potential job-related causes of asthma when diagnosing patients. An estimated one in six cases of asthma in people of working age is either caused or aggravated by work-related factors.

 

 

The guidance, produced by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and funded by NHS Plus, advises hospital doctors to question patients with respiratory problems about their job, the materials they work with and whether their symptoms improve when they are away from work. They also need to be aware of those that carry particular risks, such as laboratory workers, and workers in the chemical industry. Doctors are also being urged to not solely rely on the patient’s history, but to conduct tests such as peak flow measurements at work and away from work, and skin-prick tests for allergy to substances that could potentially be causing the illness.[WCx]

 

 

More than 200 substances have been shown to cause occupational asthma; these include plant substances, chemicals and certain metals, with contributing factors such as cigarette smoking making some workers more susceptible.

 

 

Dr. Paul Nicholson, lead author of The Guidance, noted,Highlighting the prevalence of occupational asthma is absolutely key, as too often work-related factors are overlooked leading to unnecessary delays in proper investigation and management. When a patient displays signs of asthma, doctors should be enquiring about the patient’s job, the materials they work with, and whether their symptoms improve regularly when away from work.

 

 

According to Professor John Harrison, director of NHS Plus, “About 70% of the UK workforce does not have access to occupational health care. This makes it vital that hospital doctors and respiratory specialists are assessing asthma patients for potential work-related causes and advising appropriate treatment and preventative measures. By following this guidance they will offer their patients the best chance of recovery. The guidelines will benefit all doctors and healthcare professionals caring for people of working age, a long standing goal of NHS Plus.”

 

 

Dr. Sian Williams, clinical director of the RCP Health and Work Development Unit, added, “Whilst failing to spot the disease early can hinder a patient’s recovery, an incorrect diagnosis of occupational asthma can also have negative consequences; the worker may be required to change their ways of working, or even their job.. We recommend that doctors assess their patient’s symptoms, history and conduct tests so they can make a fully informed diagnosis.[WCx]

 

 

The Guidance, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, recommends that doctors seek consent from sufferers to communicate with the employer to advise them of the diagnosis and of the need to protect the patient from further exposure. Also Consult the LexisNexis/Matthew Bender most recent edition of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for more information on Asthma and other illnesses. 

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 

WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

How to Manage Independent Medical Examinations to Control Costs

 

Independent Medical Examinations (IME) [also known as Independent Medical Evaluations in some jurisdictions] is a major tool used by workers compensation adjusters and defense attorneys to control medical treatment cost. An IME is the utilization of a medical specialist to examine the employee, to review the employee’s medical history, to provide a diagnosis, and to provide a prognosis. The medical specialist will give an unbiased opinion as to the nature and extent of the employee’s injury. An IME will establish the true level of the employee’s disability and permanency level. This makes the IME an important method of controlling medical treatment cost as well as a way to limit unnecessary lost time.
 
 
The states vary in the number and type of IMEs that can be had. In some jurisdictions, the employer/insurer is limited to one IME throughout the entire course of the claim. In other jurisdictions, the employer/insurer can have as many IMEs as they are willing to pay for. With an IME costing $500 to $1500 depending on the location and the specialty, the employer or insurer does not want to waste money having needless IMEs performed. [WCx]
 
 
The IME doctor will need all the available information on the medical condition of the employee. The IME doctor needs to be provided all medical reports from prior medical providers, all diagnostic testing results (MRIs, CT scans, EMG studies, x-rays, etc.), a complete job description of the employee’s duties including all physical requirements, and the employer’s first report of injury stating exactly how the employee was injured. If the employee has aggravated a preexisting condition, all medical records for treatment of the preexisting condition should be obtained prior to the IME and provided to the IME doctor.
 
 
The adjuster, employer, or defense attorney requesting the IME should draft a letter to the IME doctor stating the concerns about the employee’s medical situation, and outlining the medical questions that need to be answered. The letter should be kept objective, clear, and to the point, as in some jurisdictions it can become a part of the evidence in the claim.
 
 
The various industrial commissions, workers compensation boards, departments of labor, and bureaus give different levels of credence to the opinion of the IME. In some jurisdictions the opinions expressed in the IME hold equal weight with the medical opinion of the primary treating physician.  Other jurisdictions consider the IME but normally give greater credence to the primary treating physician, as the primary medical provider has normally seen the employee many more times than the IME doctor has.
 
 
Overcoming the bias of the commission / board / labor department / bureau requires the selection of a highly skilled and well respected doctor. Many adjusters (and employers on self-insured programs) make the mistake of using the same conservative doctor over and over for every IME. The opinions of these well qualified, conservative doctors, while often are accurate, are discounted by the hearing official because the hearing official knows the reputation of both the plaintiff attorney’s favorite doctors as well as the reputation of the adjuster’s/employer’s favorite doctor.
 
 
To be successful in the use of IME, the employer or adjuster should select a doctor in the appropriate specialty that has a reputation for telling it exactly the way it is. The hearing official will pay closer attention to the medical opinions of the doctors known to be unbiased.
 
 
As an employer, if the reputation of the possible IME doctors is not known, ask an experienced workers compensation defense attorney who has attended hundreds of hearings for IME doctor recommendations. Stress to the defense attorney that you are not looking for the most conservative doctor around, but for the doctor that has the reputation for being the most objective.
 
 
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule on finding the most objective IME doctor. In some jurisdictions like Georgia and New York, the administrative official hearing a contested disability rating will normally split the difference between the disability rating the claimant has been given by his chosen doctor and the disability rating given by the employer’s IME doctor. In those situations, where it is assumed the employee’s doctor will be providing a high rating and the IME doctor will be providing a lower rating, the use of a conservative IME is the better approach. Therefore, it is very beneficial to know how the system works in your state. (See our state by state guide for Laws and Regulations Here.)
 
 
After the IME, if there are still questions about the employee’s medical condition that have not been answered, it can be beneficial to follow-up with the IME doctor and ask those questions. Also, the IME doctor may be able to direct you to research on the particular medical condition of the employee that can be used at the administrative hearing.[WCx]
 
 
In order for the IME to be used as evidence in the claim, you must share it with the employee and/or employee’s attorney. Consult with your defense attorney as to the best time to share the IME information.
 
See also our Insurance Dictionary of Terms and Abbreviations Here

 

 

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 author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations at Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and a part of the Amaxx team helping companies successfully reduce Workers Compensation Costs by 20% – 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com   Contact:mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 



WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

How to Handle the Worst News in Company History

 

There are fire extinguishers in case a fire starts. We hope one never does, yet the fire extinguishers are kept in good working order and hung in many appropriate places. As well, we keep first aid items available in case of injuries, and we hope we never put them to use.  This is proper planning. At its base is the most elementary of risk management processes. It is on this premise that I write this article. [WCx]
 
 
Today I want to take a short walk with you into the possible outcomes of having employees work in most any environment. Take, for example the office, a very low risk workplace, but none the less there is that potential for serious injury or even a fatality.  I will leave this to you, the reader, to add to this any other potentially increased risk that may occur at a particular place of employment.
 
 
Have you thought about what would happen in the event you, the owner, or CEO, ever gets that dreaded call? The call no one ever wants to hear.  It is from your site or plant foreman and the person can barely get out the words. There is a  worker or workers severely injured or killed at the worksite or plant.
 
 
WHAT DO YOU DO RIGHT NOW? The next actions taken may well mean the very survival of a company decades in the making. As well, with current case law regulatory requirements and court precedents, there may as well be criminal charges at hand.  Am I being theatrical? NO, Unfortunately I deal with just these events several times a year and have seen things go from bad to worse just for the lack of proper action being taken in the beginning.
 
 
What you do, how you do it, and how you respond to those around you is critical at this point. What words you choose and the actions you take at this critical time can make all the difference.  It is difficult to use an example here. Literally thousands of variables exist due to business type and the individual details that would make any real or example based case just a story. [WCx]
 
 
The point is your firm is unique and the situation will be as well. I can offer no checklist other than the basics.
 
 
This is where planning and forethought to your exposures is critical. Every owner or CEO should have a plan that has been thought out before hand and reinforced down the lines of responsibility. Just like the annual fire extinguisher or emergency drill, there has to be a plan. A well conceived plan that is communicated and reinforced with all down line supervisors and management often.  If I were to give you a scenario of an event at a competitor’s firm and ask you what they would need to do (or not do) in the event of a serious situation, you could do a relatively decent job with the details.
 
 
However, this is YOUR firm, it involves YOUR employees. The injured or killed are possibly your close friends or even a family member in the case of many firms.
 
 
 As well as having frank talks with all front line management, you also must have a relationship with a labor law firm and consultant that you can call to action with a single phone call. You likely will be in shock at this time and prone to distracting emotions in a situation that is critical.  For this reason the first action in the plan should be to call the labor law firm with whom there is a prearranged relationship. The firm can handle, and you can refer, any questions requiring immediate answers to them.
 
 
Most likely media will be on site right behind the emergency responders. As part of the action plan the law firm will assist in creating an initial statement that can be drilled into the supervisors and employees. All must be instructed on what to say. A standard that works is: “We have encountered a tragedy, details are not yet available, and I will get with you as soon as I have any answers Nothing more.  Your labor law firm, due to your individual circumstances, may have something different in mind. If so, rely on them.
 
 
Non-management employees must also be given rules. All must understand that company policy is quite strict concerning the importance that they do not say anything to the media. This must be included in your initial new hire training, written in company policy, and reinforced regularly
 
 
I do hope this information will convince all senior management to initiate this kind of planning into your existing emergency procedures. The time to prepare is before you get that call no one wants to get. I do hope that your plan remains just that a plan. [WCx]
 
 
A few reminders:
 
  • Gather senior management and discuss what kinds of incidents your industry is vulnerable to.
     
  • Prepare a written policy for serious incidents.
     
  • Communicate and train all senior management.
     
  • Notify all non-management employees that they are not authorized to speak with media after an event.
     
  • Retain a labor law firm to assist and review procedures.
     
  • If there is an incident, immediately call on the law firm to direct you through any incident. Follow the instructions, remember emotions will be high. A trusted advisor is chosen. Listen to them at this time.
 
Also see our article on Immediate Injury Response for further information.  
 
 
Brian Hill is owner of OshaSure in Birmingham Alabama and has over 20 years as a workplace safety and risk consultant. Brian was previously a pilot for a major US airline and member of the company’s interdepartmental safety committee. He found his new career in safety after the closing of the airline in 1991. Brian has found the same passion he had for flying in assisting companies with safety, heath and risk issues.
For more information click on www.oshasure.com

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Valuable Techniques to Control Medical Costs

Employers who let the injured employees control their own medical care have higher workers compensation medical costs then the employers who are actively involved in the medical care of the injured workers.  There are numerous techniques an employer can use to properly control and direct the medical care provided to injured employees.

 

The states are about even divided between states where employers select the medical provider(s) and the states where the employee chooses the medical provider. Some states even try to give both the employer and the employee a voice in the selection of the medical providers by the use of doctor panels.  In the states that use a doctor panel, the employer selects a group of doctors, and the employee then selects a doctor from the employer’s group of doctors (panel).

 

The first action an employer should take is to identify the reputable, conservative doctors in their area.  Both the nurse case management team and the defense counsel can provide you with valuable information on which doctors you can trust, and which doctor’s rely on referrals from plaintiff attorneys for their income.  Start with having defense counsel provide you with a list of recommended emergency clinics, general practice doctors and orthopedics, then have the nurse case management team cull the list to remove any doctors that are difficult to get along with and/or keep the employees off longer than necessary.   Defense counsel can also tell you if you are in one of the few states that allow absolutely no input by the employer in the selection of the medical provider.

 

 

There are additional important considerations in determining the doctor that should be considered.  You want the doctor(s) to be and do the following.

  •       responsive to the employee’s medical needs
  •      spend the necessary time with the injured employees
  •         have flexibility in scheduling appointments for the employees
  •      review the job descriptions in order to provide light duty work as soon as feasible
  •      have a professional and pleasant manner

 

Post the list of preferred medical providers on the bulletin board for everyone to see.  (Some states require a particular format or poster design for the posting of workers comp doctors; check the specific state requirements for formatting the list of medical providers).  In the states where the employer has the right to designate the medical provider or is required to post a panel of doctors, the list should be titled “Required Medical Provider(s)”.   In the states where the employee selects the medical provider the list should be title “Recommended Medical Providers”. Some networks have exceptional doctors noted, so if these doctors are available consider including them in the panel.  [WCx]

 

 

Establish rapport and dialogue with the medical providers (they will be glad you do as it makes their jobs easier) before the injuries occur.  The medical providers will remember you, as way too many employers have no interaction at all with them.  The medical providers will understand that you care about the general welfare of the employees and you care about getting the employees back to work.  When you show an interest in the employee’s medical care several positive things occur including.

 

  •      medical reports are provided to you timely
  •      you gain cooperation with the return-to-work program
  •       phone calls are returned
  •      any forms or documents you need completed get done

 

There are many other steps the employer should take to control and direct the medical care of injured workers. The new 2012 edition of Manage Workers Compensation Program, Reduced Costs 20-50% has an entire chapter on directing medical care.  The book includes both Ten Considerations for Your Company Doctor and Eleven Reasons NOT to Select a Doctor.  Please contact us for your copy.

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 website 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 author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.comContact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact info@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

5 More Ways to Reduce the Risk of Back Injuries

In the first part of this article, we discussed some general tips about how to lessen the risk for occurrences of back injury at the workplace.  I had a chance to further discuss this matter with some of my peers, and I discovered I left out some rather good ideas. 

 
 
So here are 5 more ways to reduce the risk for workers sustaining back injuries while at work.
 
 
1. Use a dolly or other wheeled device for moving boxes and materials.

Instead of having the worker carry boxes by hand or push them across the floor to their destination, require workers to use a dolly. Not only can more material be moved in one trip, but it is easier and safer as well.  This may seem like simple common sense, but it may seem surprising how many employers do not have a dolly or wheeled cart.  It really is amazing!  A dolly or cart is the oldest mode of moving material around, and for an employer not to have one is quite frankly surprising. Using the dolly will lessen the workload for the worker’s muscles, allowing them to be more productive and less prone to injury. Get one with bigger tires, and strong fabrication.  Make sure it can handle the weight of the work demands. (WCxKit)
 
 
2. Wearing lumbar supports

If there are workers that have to manually move material by hand, get them some lumbar supports.  In addition to teaching them the proper way to lift, a lumbar support will help to keep the spine in proper alignment, forcing the lower half of the body to carry the burden of the task at hand.  This alone will result in decreased injury due to improper lifting.  It is possible to still sustain a lumbar strain while wearing a lumbar support, but wearing one lessens the chances.  Everyone that works at  the plant does not need one; just get enough for dock workers or for any workers that have to do repetitive carrying on a daily basis.
 
 
 
3. Wearing proper footwear

Feet take a beating day in and day out.  This is especially true for those on their feet all day, while wearing work boots and walking on hard surfaces.  But the woes of foot pain are not just for the construction worker; retail workers and others have job demands where they have to stand for a long time.  To lessen this pain, workers should be encouraged to use sole inserts for their boots or shoes.  This will lessen the “shock” your spine has to absorb from your work demands, and make feet and legs feel better and less fatigued.  These sole inserts are usually pretty cheap, especially when purchased in bulk.  
 
 
4. Put down some Fatigue Mats

Employers are recommended to utilize fatigue mats for employees that have to stand in one area for their job, such as a checker in the retail field.  These mats are cushioned so there is less strain on the feet, legs, and hips.  This will give the worker better posture, and result in less fatigue-type injuries.  Standing in one place for long periods of time is harder than you would think and anything the employer can do to make that job easier for employees is worth doing.  Manufacturers make these mats in a variety of shape, styles, and thicknesses. 
 
 
5. Lower the height of storage shelves 

This idea may seem quite obvious, but employers need to adjust their shelves to easily accessible heights.  Most companies buy shelving units set at the prefabricated heights, but then they never adjust them to meet their work needs.  This is an area to  tap workers for some ideas on what exact height certain shelves should be, to make lifting and placing items on said shelves easier.   (WCxKit)
 
 
Summary

5 more great ideas on how to lessen the risk for back injury claims. Since these strains are the most common type of injury, anything to do to lessen your exposure is worth pursuing.  Feel free to tap the greatest free resource for ideas: your workers. 
 

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 website 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 author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Post-Accident Response Steps to Ensure Win-Win for Employer & Employee

The actions of the employer in the minutes after an injury accident occurs can have a major impact on the overall outcome of the workers compensation claim.  The proper actions and following the proper procedures in the post-accident response will have a definite impact on the overall outcome of the claim.

 

Unfortunately, the standard post-accident response is to drive the injured employee to the doctor and to send in the claim report to the insurance company or third party claims administrator.  If that is the total response to an injury, you can expect to have more than your share of negative outcomes. (WCxKit)

 

 

The proper management of the post-accident response entails having a defined role and established procedures for the employee, the employee’s supervisor and the workers compensation coordinator to follow in every claim.  The training of the staff on the steps they should take is important to a post-accident response.

 

 

The role of each person and the procedures they follow should be in a written format to ensure uniformity in the application and effectiveness.  A standardized response will result in better-cost containment and maintain a higher level of employee appreciation for the immediate post-accident response.

 

 

Prior to the accident occurring, the employer should be prepared with all the appropriate forms.  In addition to the First Report of Injury form used in your state, the employer should have the following documents.

 

  • An employee brochure “What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job”
  • Employee Report of Accident
  • Supervisor Report of Accident
  • Witness Report Form
  • Work Ability Form
  • Transitional Assignment Form

 

 

Each of these forms will assist in gathering the necessary information for the claims adjuster to make the appropriate determination of the compensability of the claim, and for the employee supervisor or workers comp coordinator to arrange for the employee to return to work.

 

 

When an accident does happen, the supervisor should not look around to see which other employee can drive the injured employee to the doctor.  The supervisor should accompany the employee to the pre-selected medical provider.  The supervisor should then provide the employee with the Work Ability Form to give to the doctor. The Work Ability Form provides the format for the doctor to convey the employee’s work restrictions.

 

 

The employee returns the Work Ability Form to the supervisor.  The supervisor reviews the Work Ability Form to see if the employee can return to her/his regular job and it allows the supervisor to comply with any work restrictions the medical provider has given to the injured employee. This ensures the employer understands the job restrictions and allows the employer to arrange for the appropriate transitional duty job.

 

 

In the case of a severe injury where the employee cannot return to work on a modified duty job, the Work Ability Form should be faxed to the workers compensation coordinator.  The workers comp coordinator can review the injury restrictions with the nurse case manager to learn the approximate length of time the injured employee will be totally unable to perform work.  It will allow the workers comp coordinator to know about when to expect the injured employee to be able to start a transitional duty job.

 

 

If the injured employee is unable to return to work either full duty or in a transitional duty job, the supervisor or the workers comp coordinator should keep in touch with the employee.  This will allow you to know the medical progress the employee is making, it will keep the employee feeling connected to the company, and it will allow for the proper transition to a modified duty job. (WCxKit)

 

 

This has been a very brief overview of proper post-accident response.  To obtain the appropriate forms for a post-accident response, please contact us. You can learn more about the proper post-injury response procedure in our new 2012 edition of Manage Your Workers Compensation Program, Reduce Cost 20-50%.

 

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 website 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 author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.comContact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

 

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com

 

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

WC GROUP:   www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/

SUBSCRIBE:  Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
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Doctors Drive Transportation Fleet Workers Comp Claim Costs

By Karen Wolfe, BSN. MA, MBA

President, CEO

MedMetrics, LLC

 

 

Our recently published article, “Survey: Employers Want WC Cost Control. Really?”, generated this response from a reader.

 

 

“The biggest problem I have is finding the right doctors. If all of my employees were in one location, this would be a piece of cake, but we are a trucking company with drivers who live and work all over the U.S.” [WCx]

 

 

She continued, “I just had a conversation with a doctor’s office this morning about a claimant at the other side of the country. This employee, the claimant, has been off work 6 weeks with a knee injury. X-rays and MRI show nothing acute, the ligaments and cartilage are fine, but the claimant still reports pain. The doctor admits he has no explanation for claimant’s pain complaints. However, instead of releasing claimant back to work or declaring MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement), the doctor referred him to a specialist.”

 

 

Frustration

The frustration experienced by this claim manager is palpable. Yet, the treating physician is probably not fraudulent or abusive of the Workers Comp system. He is probably unaware of the impact of his decision to refer. Moreover, he is probably also oblivious to the fact that the longer his patient is off work, the chances of ever returning to work decidedly decrease. The doctor is simply treating the patient as he would his neighbor. But that is often not the best care from a Workers Comp viewpoint.

 

 

That is the question

The obvious solution is to prevent such dilemmas by selecting only excellent treating providers who understand the Workers Comp system. How can they be found? Most provider networks still contract with anyone and everyone, regardless of performance, thereby leaving employers like this one marooned. Yet that tradition is changing and changing fast for the trucking industry and all other industries.

 

 

Enlightenment

The enlightened movement in the industry quickly gaining traction is outcome-based networks. Many are structured as carve-outs of existing networks suited to individual locations and needs. Providers, particularly doctors, are selected based on actual performance appropriate to Workers Compensation derived from comprehensive objective claim data. Analytics are used to evaluate actual performance in multiple categories unique to Workers Compensation.

 

 

Analysis of individual performance is evidenced in data indicators based on industry research. Among the indicators are frequency and duration of medical treatment, return to work rates, indemnity costs, litigation, direct medical costs, and other factors specific to Workers Comp. Comparative provider performance must be state-specific and quality of care is considered.

 

 

Medical quality

Medical quality in Workers Compensation is important, as it is in general health. Injured workers deserve the best medical care available. However, in Workers Comp there is another layer of quality measurement superimposed on what is measured in general health. In general health quality is measured in terms of accepted treatment patterns followed and return to health. However, in Workers Comp, measures of administrative factors, such as those indicators listed above, are quality indicators integrated into provider performance evaluation. Return to health is often not as important as return to work.

 

 

What to do

Industry enlightenment will drive the solution. People now realize they need better information about which doctors to choose, information based on objective data, not vast lists of doctors’ names and locations. Moreover, you can begin now to make that happen.

 

 

Be the solution

The one prerequisite for analytics is data and the more data, the more accurate the results. MedMetrics is developing a Master Provider Index for individual states. Those who submit data to the project will benefit by having first access to the Master Provider Index online and at the significantly reduced contributor rate. [WCx]

 

 

Contact karenwolfe@medmetrics.org or 541-390-1680 to learn how to become a data contributor. Drive the Master Provider Index project and the solution. Learn more about MedMetrics.

 

 

Author Karen Wolfe, BSN, MA, MBA, is President/CEO, MedMetrics®, LLC. Karen is founder and president of MedMetrics® LLC, an Internet-based Workers’ Compensation medical analytics company. She applies her medical knowledge to gathering, understanding and applying Workers’ Compensation data to the operational process. MedMetrics imports, integrates, and analyzes its clients’ medical billing and claims level data. MedMetrics uses several tools such as Predictive Intelligence Profiling and Medical Provider Performance Assessment to gather and analyze data. Contact: Phone: 541-390-1680; Karenwolfe@medmetrics.orgwww.medmetrics.org.

 

 

WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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Workers Compensation News From Around the Net

Input Needed in Providers Opioid Audit
 
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) acknowledges that prescription drug abuse and misuse, including opioids, is a serious issue in all health care delivery systems, including workers’ compensation.
 
 
The TDI-DWC seeks input and suggestions regarding the development of a new Plan-Based Audit for health care providers prescribing opioids. The Plan-Based Audit sets the scope, methodology, selection criteria, and program area responsibilities as laid out in the Medical Quality Review Procedure. A copy of the proposed Health Care Providers Pain Management Services (Opioid) Plan-Based Audit can be viewed at the TDI website here. [WCx] 
 
 
Broadspire Launches BOLD® Rx Network
 
Broadspire, a Crawford Company and TPA of workers compensation claims, liability claims and medical management services, has launched its BOLD Rx Network to help control the medical costs associated with WC claims. See here for more information.[WCx]
 
 
According to Broadspire, the BOLD Rx Network uses a multi-leveled strategy to achieve superior penetration rates and savings compared to the rest of the industry. “Rather than just partnering with one pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company, as is traditionally seen in the marketplace, Broadspire leverages multiple partners based on the value they bring to clients, creating a stronger pharmacy program,” they write.
 
Federal Court Rejects NLRB Authority to Force Posting of Employee Rights Notice
 
According to a well-written newsletter from McGuireWoods, a world-wide lawfirm with 900 lawyers, in Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., et al. v. NLRB (Dist. S.C., April 13, 2012), a South Carolina federal district court held that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) does not have statutory authority to force employers to post notices that the NLRB claims are designed to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
 
 
McGuireWoods writes, “The Court’s decision directly conflicts with a recent decision from a separate federal court in the District of Columbia. These developments place all employers covered by the Act in a very difficult position.”
 
 
The regulations are to take effect April 30, 2012. “The conflicting court cases make it unclear whether employers will be required to post the NLRB notices on the current April 30, 2012 deadline. (Click here for more),” they write.
 
 
Columbus Dispatch Notices Lawsuits Against Doctors on Decline
 
Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson writes here that Ohio’s tort-reform law has reduced closed claims by 41 between 2005 and 2010. He discovered average payments for medical malpractice cases have declined 38 percent over that period.
 
 
Johnson writes, “The legal fight over curbing lawsuits and settlements in medical malpractice cases reached a tipping point in 2003 when the General Assembly passed and Gov. Bob Taft signed Senate Bill 281. The law capped non-economic damages, commonly known as ‘pain and suffering,’ at $500,000 per occurrence.”
 
 
Johnson reports that Tim Maglione, of the Ohio State Medical Association says doctors’ medical malpractice rates have dropped more than 26 percent. “It’s not only good news and a good trend, but it is proof that tort reform accomplished what it set out to do — slow the growth of what we thought were runaway lawsuits and to stabilize the market for physicians,” Maglione said. The numbers have also gone down, he said in the article, because doctors and hospitals are working harder to improve safety and cut down on mistakes. “The best error is the one that never happens.”
 
 
Progressive Medical Releases Annual Workers’ Compensation Medication Trends Report
 
According to Progressive Medical, Inc., WC medication spending declined in 2011. Their annual analysis, found here, reveals changes to medication expense patterns in workers’ compensation claims from 2010 to 2011 for Progressive Medical clients, as well as key factors that may influence future expenditures, such as chronic pain, product mix and government activity.
 
 
Key highlights from the 2012 Workers' Compensation Medication Trend Report include:
  1. Although medication AWP inflation was 5.8 percent in 2011, data shows a 1.3 percent reduction in total medication spend per claim.
  2. There was an overall 3.3 percent decrease in utilization per injured worker from 4.3 percent fewer prescriptions and a 1.1 percent decrease in average days of medication supply received.
  3. Across the industry, narcotics account for 35 percent-40 percent of workers' compensation medication spend while Progressive Medical showed a 3.9 percent decrease in total spending per claim in this drug category. Progressive Medical believes this is due to an emphasis on conducting interventions earlier in the lifecycle of a claim.
 
 
Note: If your company has any developments you'd like to share, please send them to us at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

 

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 author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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