ACOEM 3-Part Return to Work Framework



ACOEM Whitepaper: Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed


Hey, there. Michael Stack here, CEO of Amaxx. One of the most fundamental goals in workers’ compensation is to return our injured employees to work and back to function. I want to draw your attention to a white paper written by ACOEM several years ago entitled Preventing Needless Work Disability. You could find a link to that white paper below. Within that paper, they talk about a three-part framework or a three-step framework to consider return to work on nearly every single workers’ comp claim. I want to walk you through what that framework is when you’re considering return to work for your injured employees.


ACOEM 3-Part Return to Work Framework


The first part is to assess where that current employee is. The next piece is compare. Then, the final piece is to create. So assess, compare, and create. Assess where they currently are. What are their current job restrictions? What restrictions do they get from the physician that say they could only lift 20 pounds or 50 pounds and they can bend this way or stretch this way X amount of times standing, whatever that happens to be? Where do they currently stand? Compare that what the job descriptions are, the physical demands of their actual jobs. You should have a very comprehensive library of what this means at your organization so you can compare one with two. It’s very, very simple when you actually break it down.


Simplicity of High-Level Understanding


Then, the final piece is to create that job. What are those action steps, then, to now put this into practice? Obviously, there’s a lot more depths to each one of these steps. But if you can understand the high level of what it is that we’re actually trying to accomplish, it can ultimately be fairly simple in your mind to now put this all together. So assess, compare, and create. Three steps in the return to work framework in ACOEM’s Preventing Needless Work Disability white paper, which I highly recommend downloading and checking out. It’s a great resource. Again, my name is Michael Stack, CEO of Amaxx. Remember, your work today on workers’ compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company bottom line. But it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. So be great.



Michael Stack - Amaxx

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/

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under InternationalCopyright 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 Power of A Personal Note – Legacy of George HW Bush

Hey, there. Michael Stack here, CEO of AMAXX. Our former president, George H.W. Bush, passed away recently at the age of 94. Mr. Bush was a tremendous leader who left a lasting impact and legacy on our nation. And more close to home for me, in my hometown where I live with my family in Kennebunkport, Maine, Mr. Bush and Barbara Bush’s impact on our small town here has certainly been felt.

 

 

Honor Life & Legacy of a Great Leader

 

When we look at the life of a great leader, we look at their legacy. We need to look at what are those lessons that we can learn from them and apply to our lives to improve our outcome, to improve our situation, and more specifically, for our purposes today, improve our work comp programs.

 

 

Power of Personal Notes

 

I want to draw your attention to one of Mr. Bush’s best practices, which was writing personal notes. It’s looked at an old-fashioned practice, but he would write notes to foreign leaders. He would write notes to celebrities if he sat by them at a dinner. He even wrote a note to his granddaughter when his granddaughter was born, and passing around the internet, the letter that he wrote to the incoming president, Bill Clinton, you can see and read the spirit of how he lived.

 

 

Send Get Well Card to Injured Workers

 

When we look at our work comp programs, when one of your employees gets injured, can you take the time to write them a get well card? Say, “Hey, John. I’m sorry you got injured. We look forward to having your spirit back as part of the team as soon as possible.” Something along those lines. Taking the time to put pen to paper, there is no better way through written communication to make that personal connection.

 

It’s not sending a text. It’s not sending an email. There’s something magical about putting that pen to paper and dropping that card in the mail. Take that lesson from Mr. Bush’s life and legacy. Apply it to our programs, and you will see dramatic results.

 

Again, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX, and remember your work today in 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.

 

Digital Job Profile Technology and Your Workforce

digital job profileCompanies are using advanced technologies to manufacture their products, create intellectual property, and deliver their varied services. But are they making use of new technologies to optimally manage their own workforce? In the majority of cases, the answer is No.

 

Most of the tools and processes being used to assess job demands, hire capable workers, prevent injuries, manage recovery, and return to work, have not kept up with available software and methodologies.  These new advancements can substantially enhance the health, safety, and productivity of a company’s greatest resource – its employees.

 

Let’s review some of these options with which employers and brokers should become familiar.

 

 

Technology for Physical Demands & Ergonomic Risks

 

Do employers really understand the physical demands of each of their company’s jobs, as well as the ergonomic risks that each job may present?  Traditional job descriptions do the former poorly, and the latter not at all. With the use of today’s technology, a company risk manager can potentially access comprehensive, quantified digital job profiles for virtually every position in their organization, either “off the shelf” or customized with a few modifications. Additionally, they can use a smartphone to capture an employee performing his/her job and upload it into artificial intelligence-powered software that automatically produces a video digital job profile displaying the job in action with quantified physical demands.

 

 

Value of Digital Job Profile

 

Using today’s technologies, an employer can cost-effectively build a digital database of all their company’s jobs which can be used to create precise protocols for post-offer employment testing.

 

Benefits include:

 

  • flag high-demand jobs, ranking the body regions most susceptible to injury, leading to prompt ergonomic mitigation.
  • suggest training programs to build and maintain endurance, specifically tailored to the demands of each job.
  • facilitate return to work based on digitally matching the employee’s clinical status during, and at the end of rehabilitation, to his/her own job or other company jobs in the database, consistent with any physical restrictions or limitations.
  • decrease an employer’s risk exposure for ADA non-compliance.

 

The technology of this type is not confined to industrial applications but is also available for office workers. Office worker technology can provide computerized video-guidance allowing the employee to assess their workspaces (computer, monitor, keyboard, chair, etc.), generate instant ergonomic modifications, and if necessary, recommendations for the purchase of more suitable equipment. This feedback and information support productivity, comfort, and a reduced risk of work-related conditions.

 

 

Share Digital Job Profile with Stakeholders

 

Last, but not least, if and when an injury occurs, the digital job profile is electronically shareable with the employer’s insurer, TPA, or managed care organization (or for self-administration) and provides a roadmap for claim and medical managers to make informed compensability determinations and pursue evidence-based treatment and return-to-work strategies. But more about that in a future installment.

 

Employers, and brokers are well-advised to explore these novel approaches which modernize our approach to workforce management.

 

 

 

Jacob Lazarovic MD, Medical Advisor at Amaxx LLC, has considerable experience in managed care, including 18 years as chief medical officer at Broadspire , a leading TPA. His department produced clinical guidelines and criteria to support sound medical claim and case management practices; participated in analysis, reporting and benchmarking of outcomes and quality improvement initiatives; and operated a comprehensive in-house physician review (peer review) service. He has been published extensively in industry journals and has held several senior medical management positions at companies including HealthAmerica, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida and Vivra Specialty Partners. In his current capacity as CMO at MyAbilities Technologies, he has developed evidence-based online clinical applications that support the company’s digital job profile software, and its claim and medical management tools geared to functionality-driven return to work and job-mat

 

How Long Will My Injured Employee Be Off Work?


 

… We look at the work comp industry. What are the common questions that employers will ask when an employee is injured is how long is my employee going to be out. What is my expectation for how long they should be out, and then two, how do I know when they’ve started to go off the tracks?

 

 

Evidence-Based Medicine Injury Duration Guidelines

 

Today I want to introduce you or possibly re-introduce you to evidence-based medicine injury duration guidelines. There are two primary providers of this information in our industry. MD Guidelines and ODG Guidelines. Both credible sources of information and data that you can reference.

 

I want to walk you through an example here on the board. We’re going to talk about John who works in your warehouse. John’s job or part of John’s job is to lift 50 lb boxes, and he sustained a partial rotator cuff tear injury, which is the data that you see here on the board and this is provided by MD Guidelines.

 

Over here you can see the physical demands or the types of jobs from sedentary to medium to very heavy and heavy jobs. This is the expectation for recovery minimum, optimum, and maximum expected recovery time based on physician consensus of required physiological healing time. This is how long the body should heal based on this type of injury.

 

 

Example: Heavy Physical Demand Warehouse Position

 

Let’s take a look at this. Now, John’s 50 lb box lifting job would fall into this heavy category. You can see here that the optimum recovery time is 42 days. So even if I have no medical background or any medical training and you don’t have any medical background or any training in the medical field, you can look up this information and know very quickly it’s about six weeks that I can expect optimally that John should be back to his job. And it could be up to 85 days and it could be as low as just a couple of weeks here that he could be back to work, obviously based on a number of factors.

 

But this now starts to set your initial expectation just like that Google Maps app going somewhere you’ve never been, dealing with an injury maybe you’ve never dealt with before.

 

Now you also need to know when you’re starting to go off the tracks and so you look at John’s recovery time and now it’s clicking away and now you’re getting over here and you’re like, “Hey, what’s going on over here? Why is John not even close to recovering when the expectation should be that, optimally, you know, just within a couple of six weeks, you know, three, four, five, six weeks, he could potentially be back to work.” So what’s going on here? I’m off the tracks. My ETA has now gotten much higher than it was before. So it gives you that indication of when you’re off the tracks and potentially you need to work with your adjuster, work with your claims handling team, to bring in some other interventions to get back on the track and going in the right direction. Hugely valuable information to tap into and leverage to give you that information to make those appropriate decisions.

 

 

Common Mistake Employers Make with Injury Duration Guidelines

 

One last quick point I want to make here because I often see employers misinterpreting these numbers. Go back to this example of John. You say he’s going to be out six weeks. I’m not even going to think about bringing him back to work or expect he’s going to be back to work until this timeframe because that’s what the injury duration guidelines say.

 

I want to draw your attention up to here though. This is what transitional duty is all about. This is what late duty is all about. Sedentary and light jobs you should be able to get John back to work lickety-split within a couple of days even at the maximum required is four days. So within a couple of days, John should be back to work doing sedentary or light duty in a transitional duty type capacity.

 

When you do that, you’re going to angle John’s recovery time this way. When you leave John out of work and you don’t bring him back up here, you’re going to angle him this way and you’re going to probably end up being even further than maximum. When you get those people back to work right away you’re going to improve their recovery times. When you don’t, you’re going to make sure that recovery time is significantly longer, which as we know, anytime you see that ETA go up significantly higher when you’re driving, it’s not something you’re looking for and particularly in Workers’ Compensation. The impact of that is much greater. It impacts an individual’s life; it adds significant cost to your claim.

 

Again, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of Amaxx. Remember your work today and Workers’ Compensation, it 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.

Crawford Offers Streamlined Ergonomic and Return to Work Efforts with Innovative Software

TORONTOOct. 9, 2018 /CNW/ – Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. today announces the integration of Crawford EmployerWORKS™ software with its human risk service line. Crawford EmployerWORKS is an innovative software platform powered by MyAbilities™. It was designed to streamline and standardize the collection, communication, and analysis of physical, cognitive and psychosocial demands tied to risk assessment and return to work efforts. As a tool for the adjudicators, case managers and workers’ compensation consultants of Crawford’s Human Risk division, Crawford EmployerWORKS further empowers our professionals to effectively and efficiently handle disability claims by ensuring a prompt and successful return to work and implementing proper measures to prevent workplace injuries.

 

 

“Specializing in occupational (workers’ compensation) and non-occupational (leave and disability) claims from a claim and case management perspective, our human risk division strives to identify and implement new, effective methods to manage such claims ensuring a safe, timely and sustainable return to work,” said Heather Matthews, senior vice president, Crawford Human Risk. “Crawford EmployerWORKS serves to simplify and enhance our communication capabilities with clients, reduce claim costs, and increase success rates tied to sustainable return to work solutions.”

 

Click HERE to access EmployerWORKS’ capabilities.

 

This analytical system leverages the vast Crawford EmployerWORKS database to identify typical job demands linked to specific job profiles while incorporating risk factors to assist in mapping out a sustainable return to work solution. Crawford EmployerWORKS also includes tools to identify barriers for return to work in the form of physician causation analysis and psychosocial factors.

 

“We believe that everyone – employees, employers, health practitioners and insurance companies – will benefit from better prevention, injury management and return to work solutions through advanced ergonomics, artificial intelligence and digital risk assessment technology,” said Reed Hanoun, CEO of MyAbilities. “The EmployerWORKS suite is a whole new take on human asset management. We truly believe that we will revolutionize the way industries manage their ergonomics and safety strategies and that they will never look back!”

 

Through the use of innovative technology, Crawford continues to adhere to its mission to restore and enhance lives, business and communities by leveraging the appropriate expertise and analytical tools to identify and remove barriers hindering injured parties from obtaining gainful and meaningful employment following an accident, injury or illness.

 

 

About Crawford®


Based in Atlanta, Crawford & Company (NYSE: CRD-A and CRD-B) is the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities with an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries. The Company’s two classes of stock are substantially identical, except with respect to voting rights and the Company’s ability to pay greater cash dividends on the non-voting Class A Common Stock (CRD-A) than on the voting Class B Common Stock (CRD-B), subject to certain limitations. In addition, with respect to mergers or similar transactions, holders of CRD-A must receive the same type and amount of consideration as holders of CRD-B, unless different consideration is approved by the holders of 75% of CRD-A, voting as a class. More information is available at www.crawfordandcompany.com.

 

 

About MyAbilities


MyAbilities is an Ontario-based healthcare data analytics company, focused on process automation for workplace safety, ergonomics and injury management. With its AI data-driven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, we help employers, insurance companies, healthcare providers and injured workers by preventing workplace injuries, expediting the return to work of injured workers, and reducing the cost of claims while promoting a healthy and fit workforce. More information is available at http://www.myabilities.com.

 

SOURCE Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.

 

For further information: For more information, contact: Heather Matthews, Senior Vice President, Human Risk, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc., Tel: 519.578.5540 Ext. 2672, Email: Heather.Matthews@crawco.ca; For media inquiries, please contact: Gary Gardner, Senior Vice President Global Client Development, Tel: 416.957.5019, Email: Gary.Gardner@crawco.ca

 

Related Links

http://www.crawfordandcompany.com

 

Technology Can Make Return-to-work More Effective and Efficient

Technology Can Make Return-to-work More Effective and EfficientYou are all probably aware of many of the standard strategies that can be employed to ensure timely return to work during and after recovery from an occupational injury or illness.

 

 

Technology Can Make Return to Work More Efficient

 

But are there any newer technologies and approaches that can facilitate this process to make it more effective and expedited?

 

In a previous article, I discussed the critical need for an advanced form of “job description,” which we refer to as a digital job profile (DJP) containing a comprehensive physical demands analysis(PDA).  It bears repeating that the digital job profile is the cornerstone to understanding the explicit, quantitative demands of a job, and is utilized by all stakeholders in the claim management continuum. How can we return an individual to modified or full duty without knowing exactly what the job requirements are?

 

 

Psychological Component Can Play Greater Role Than Biological

 

Many of you are aware of the biopsychosocial model of injury or illness. In short, this is the recognition that non-physical factors highly impact functional restoration. In fact, many experts feel that the psychosocial components play a greater role than biological ones. You have undoubtedly noticed that the same type of injury may be devastating to one individual, while a more resilient person easily overcomes it. It is extremely helpful to predict whether your claimant is likely to be in the former or latter category.  If the claimant is fragile from a psychosocial perspective, many mitigation strategies can be employed to prevent the delayed return to work/life activities that inevitably accompanies these comorbidities.

 

Fortunately, there are automated, online screening tools available that allow you to enter claimant responses to a brief series of questions, and provide you with an immediate, calculated psychosocial risk level (high, medium, low). These validated tools may also recommend various interventions derived from the response pattern of claimants to the questionnaire. Some folks will benefit from cognitive behavior therapy, and others from family counseling, vocational guidance or psychiatric assessment. Risk screening helps to identify the level of risk, as well as appropriate strategies to help individuals better cope with the added stress of an injury or illness.

 

 

Share Digital Job Profile with Treating Clinicians

 

Now that you have shared the digital job profile with treating clinicians, allowing them to set rehabilitation modalities and goals, and have dealt with any potential psychosocial risks, what is the most efficient way to monitor progress and make decisions about return to work? Again, technology to the rescue!  One can send the digital job profile to a clinician, such as a physician or physical /occupational therapist, along with an online app that allows them to quickly and electronically document the capacities and/or restrictions and limitations related to any impacted body regions. This information is then instantly available to claim adjusters and nurse case managers and allows for quick determinations about a return to full or transitional modified duties, and at the end of treatment, this facilitates the “job matching” process. Automated algorithms can assess whether the claimant can return to their own job, alternate employment at the same company, or any other job contained within an extensive jobs database.

 

These processes streamline the recovery and return to work process by applying standardized objective functional metrics, validated screening and analysis tools, and integrated information-sharing among stakeholders. Additionally, they serve as an important defensive strategy given current ADAAA regulations and EEOC challenges.

 

 

Jacob Lazarovic MD, Medical Advisor at Amaxx LLC, Chief Medical Officer at MyAbilities. has considerable experience in managed care, including 18 years as chief medical officer at Broadspire, a leading TPA. His department produced clinical guidelines and criteria to support sound medical claim and case management practices; participated in analysis, reporting and benchmarking of outcomes and quality improvement initiatives; developed educational and training programs that updated the clinical knowledge and skills of claim professionals and nurses; provided expertise to enhances the medical bill review process; and operated a comprehensive and unique in-house physician review (peer review) service. He has been published extensively in industry journals and has held several senior medical management positions at companies including HealthAmerica, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida and Vivra Specialty Partners

3 Critical And Simple Steps For Workers’ Comp Supervisor Training

Have ever been watching a sports game whether on TV or in person, and you see and feel the momentum shift? The team with the positive momentum can’t seem to do anything wrong. And the team with the negative momentum can’t seem to do anything right.

 

Hello, my name is Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX, and this concept of momentum I believe is the most underrated and powerful force in our world today. And if we can harness this power of momentum, and if we can understand it and apply it to our work comp programs, the benefits can be immeasurable.

 

 

Positive or Negative Starts At First Reaction from Supervisor

 

How this plays out is really right at the start of that claim. That interaction between the employee and the supervisor. That’s going to set the tone for how the entire claim is going to go. So, you need to train your supervisors on how to respond accordingly. And the good part is, it’s really not that difficult. There’s a couple of simple steps that they need to do, that they need to take, that they need to have the right mindset in how to respond to those injuries, that can start building that positive momentum in your favor.

 

 

Step #1: Demonstrate Care

 

So let’s talk about hat these couple of simple steps are. First thing the supervisor needs to do is demonstrate care. First thing they need to do is demonstrate care. How are you feeling? I’m sorry you got injured. Is there anything I can do to help? And then listen and problem solve. Again, listen and problem solve. Very simple as far as responding to their injury. Demonstrate care.

 

 

Step 2: Set Expectations

 

Next piece here, set expectations. Set expectations for what’s going to happen, and how this work comp program is going to work for that employee, answering some of these simple questions, like how is the employee going to get paid? Are they going to be able to return to work? How is that all going to work. And then how is the medical treatment going to work? How are they going to get their treatment? What doctor are they going to be able to see? How are they going to get their prescriptions filled? Are they going to have to pay a deductible?

 

I heard a lot of stories from my cousin that got injured, and that didn’t really go to well for him. So, set those expectations, answer those questions. Really let them know what’s going to happen.

 

 

Step 3: Facilitate Medical Care with Injury Triage

 

And then the final thing is facilitating the medical care. Coordinating and facilitating that medical care. And the best practice here is to really make this very simple for your supervisors, but I’m just going to guess they’re probably not trained as medical professionals. They probably don’t know exactly what to do with a shoulder injury. Leverage a third part injury triage provider. Have that supervisor and that employee call the nurse hotline together. They’ve walked through millions of calls on how to handle that shoulder injury, and they can get to that individual employee to the right treatment in the right time frame.

 

Very simple steps for your supervisors to follow at the time of injury, that can build that positive momentum for that claim. Again, my name is Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX. And remember, your work today in workers compensation, it 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.

 

Quality Job Profiles Are Critical to Optimally Manage Workers’ Compensation

Quality Job Profiles Are Critical to Optimally Manage Workers’ CompensationFirst, let’s get our terminology straight. The terms “job profile” or “job description” are often used synonymously. These two terms refer to a more-or-less complete depiction of the tasks, physical and perhaps cognitive demands, and environmental characteristics of a particular position at a particular employer.

 

A well-designed job profile has great potential value, but the truth is that many employers have not expended the resources and time to develop comprehensive and quantitative databases of all their company’s positions.

 

In my experience, many jobs have no available profiles whatsoever, and when they do exist they are often incomplete, qualitative, sketchy documents on paper that provide little useful, actionable information.

 

 

Why is a Good Job Profile Important?

 

A good job profile describes every task and function of the job with detailed physical demands for each task.  A good job profile can:

 

  • set out the requirements of the job which can optionally be used for post-offer testing
  • identify ergonomic risks that can be modified to avoid injuries in high-intensity job tasks
  • explicitly document the body regions most susceptible to injury for each job, allowing for targeted fitness programs that can proactively reduce injuries. Preventing injuries is preferable to treating them!

 

Job profiles need to be presented in a “user-friendly” digital format, using accessible graphic displays and even annotated videos of the job being performed. Users need to be able to manipulate the data to find exactly the level of detailed information they require.

 

 

Easily Share Roadmap For Recovery

 

If and when an occupational injury occurs, the job profile should be electronically shared with the employer’s claim and medical managers, whether the employer self-manages claims, or these services are performed by an external TPA, carrier, or by other managed care entities. This is invaluable as the claim/medical team now has a “roadmap” for the recovery and rehabilitation process, aiming to achieve the specific physical demand goals depicted in the job profile.

 

 

The job profile can and should be securely shared electronically with treating clinicians (physicians, therapists, etc.) who now have accurate information to rely on for treatment planning purposes.

 

  • Progress can be easily monitored against job demands, enabling timely decisions about restrictions/limitations and return-to-work capabilities, as well as an assessment of the efficacy of the current treatment regimen.
  • Should the claimant achieve maximal medical improvement short of his/her present job demands, the residual capabilities can be automatically compared to all other available jobs in the employer’s database to match the claimant to other suitable employment available at his/her company (or elsewhere ).

 

 

Job Profiles Are Critical To Optimally Manage Human Capital

 

In summary, job profiles are critical for employers to optimally manage their valuable human capital proactively to maintain fitness, safety, and productivity, as well as for the cost-effective management of medical recovery, rehabilitation and return to work when occupational injury or illness occurs.

 

 

Jacob Lazarovic MD, Medical Advisor at Amaxx LLC, Chief Medical Officer at MyAbilities, has considerable experience in managed care, including 18 years as chief medical officer at Broadspire , a leading TPA. His department produced clinical guidelines and criteria to support sound medical claim and case management practices; participated in analysis, reporting and benchmarking of outcomes and quality improvement initiatives; developed educational and training programs that updated the clinical knowledge and skills of claim professionals and nurses; provided expertise to enhances the medical bill review process; and operated a comprehensive and unique in-house physician review (peer review) service. He has been published extensively in industry journals and has held several senior medical management positions at companies including HealthAmerica, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida and Vivra Specialty Partners

5 Workers’ Comp Communication Strategies to Ramp Up Your Program

5 Workers’ Comp Communication Strategies to Ramp Up Your ProgramDo you ever feel like the message just isn’t getting through to employees about your workers’ compensation program? They don’t understand what to do if they are injured, don’t seem to trust you or the company to do right by them, and have unrealistic expectations?

 

You’re not alone. Those are some of the biggest challenges employers cite in implementing their injury management programs. Thankfully, several low-cost, easy-to-implement strategies can ensure your workers understand the system and are on the same page with you.

 

 

Why Communication is Important

 

In addition to the frustrations that you feel when communication with injured workers is not smooth, it also costs you money. Research studies show a direct link between poor communication and workers’ compensation claims outcomes.

 

For example, Liberty Mutual found a decided difference in outcomes when supervisors responded positively rather than negatively to a worker reporting an injury. Positive responses, along with an injury triage system to report injuries were associated with an average of 40 percent lower claim costs and 58 percent shorter disability durations.

 

Supervisors’ responses that were deemed as ‘negative’ and drove poor outcomes included:

 

  • Lack of support
  • Blaming the worker
  • Expressing anger
  • Questioning the validity of the injury
  • Encouraging the worker not to file a claim

 

Positive outcomes were reported when the supervisors were flexible and open to talk with the worker, responded quickly, and expressed genuine interest in the worker’s overall well-being. Setting realistic expectations was cited as one of the most important best practices to communicate well with the injured worker.

 

Return-to-work coordinators said they were most effective in their jobs when they practiced:

 

  • Active listening
  • Communication
  • Ability to relate well to other stakeholders
  • Problem-solving
  • Having confidentiality

 

These so-called soft skills were more strongly associated with positive outcomes than having technical knowledge of the workers’ compensation system. The first step to change supervisors’ negative responses to positive ones is to show them the financial impact each has. Beyond that, there are several ways organizations can demonstrate genuine caring for their injured workers.

 

 

Effective Communication Strategies

 

Injured workers need to have at least a general understanding of how the workers’ compensation process works. This can be accomplished through

 

  1. Employee brochure. This proactively sets employees’ expectations in the event they are injured. It should communicate briefly how the program works, including the transitional duty program and RTW. It should clearly state that the company will take care of them and help them return to work. It should be written in a positive tone.

 

  1. Wallet card. Once an employee does become injured, he most likely will have forgotten the details in the employee brochure. A simple wallet card or posted notice should be readily available and should explain the post-injury steps:

 

  • How to report the claim
  • How and where medical care will be provided
  • The RTW process
  • Expectations for weekly meetings with you and/or others

 

Injured workers are often frightened and confused. The actions undertaken immediately following the injury set the tone for the entire process. Several tactics put the claim on the path for a positive outcome.

 

  1. First-day phone call. If a friend has been in an accident or is suddenly injured, you would probably contact him to let him know you are thinking about him, find out how he is doing and see if there is anything you can do to help. Injured workers are no different. A supervisor, or manager who has a positive relationship with the worker should call the worker as soon as possible, preferably the first day. The conversation does not need to be more than a few minutes, but it should include messages such as

 

  • We are sorry this happened
  • We want you back at work as soon as you are able
  • How are you doing?
  • Do you need me to contact your family, bring you anything you may have left at work?
  • Are there any questions about the workers’ compensation process I can answer for you?

 

The person making the call should make sure the worker knows what to expect — whether a claims adjuster and/or case manager will be in contact, how medical care will be provided for him, and that his job will be waiting for him when he returns.

 

  1. Get-well card. In addition to the initial contact from the supervisor or manager, coworkers should also convey their well wishes to the injured worker. The easiest way to do this is by sending a simple get well card, signed by the worker’s colleagues. Their messages can be simple expressions of support.

 

  1. Weekly Meetings. Communication with the injured worker should not stop after the initial contact. There should be ongoing, regular meetings via phone or in person if possible. these conversations serve two purposes:

 

  1. They let the injured worker know you are there to help.
  2. They help you gauge how well the worker is recovering.

 

These conversations should continue to express well wishes and focus on the worker’s progress. The supervisor or manager can ask:

 

  • How the worker is doing
  • How his medical care is going — whether he likes his providers and if they are responsive to his needs
  • What activities he is or is not able to do
  • What questions or frustrations he may have

 

 

Conclusion

 

The workers’ compensation system has many moving parts and complications. By communicating well with injured workers, you can eliminate many of the frustrations and realize better outcomes and lower costs.

 

 

 

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.

6 Opportunities to Improve Your Return to Work Program

7 Opportunities to Improve Your Return to Work ProgramLost time from work is a significant driver in workers’ compensation claims.  Consider some of the following statistics:

 

  • On any given workday, up to 5% of the total US workforce is off work;

 

  • Lost wages and productivity account for $267 billion per year – with roughly $88 billion of that amount attributed to work injuries; and

 

  • Time off from work due to injury accounts for additional stressors on employees, employers and the claims management team. This includes increased workplace dissatisfaction, loss of workplace morale, increased overtime (including mandatory overtime costs) and a reduction in the quality of work one performs.

 

The bottom line is nobody wins when an employee is off work due to an injury.  Based on these factors, interested stakeholder seeking to improve their workers’ compensation programs and improve efficiency should seek to return injured workers to work – and do so as soon as possible.

 

 

Opportunities to Return Employees to Work

 

Quick and effective return to work benefits all interested stakeholders.  There are countless ways to return an employee to work following an injury.  It takes time and energy, but it has many benefits to the program’s bottom line.  This requires a plan that needs to be in writing and strictly followed to drive program efficiency.

 

  • Prepare a written RTW policy: This policy should encourage all employees regardless of their age, tenure with the employer or position to return to work following a work injury.  It should require contact between all interested stakeholders.  One key consideration is the number of weeks an employee can perform light duty work with the date of injury employer.  Doing so tends to motivate employee’s to return to return quickly to work.

 

  • Prepare a written job description: When it comes to job descriptions, the devil is the details.  Important information should conform to the state’s workers’ compensation act and what is considered “suitable gainful” employment.  Items that need to be defined include both the essential and marginal functions the employee will perform.  The wages and hours and employee will work are also important;

 

  • Identify a RTW Coordinator: A RTW Coordinator serves an important role in the RTW process.  Not only are they are responsible for serving as a point of contact for the employer, but they will also understand the myriad of complex legal issues associated with workers’ compensation.  This includes such matters as short-term disability, ADA, and FMLA;

 

  • Identify and catalog light duty jobs available: There are countless activities an injured worker can perform in a light duty capacity that meets a wide variety of work restrictions.  Clerical positions that are generally sedentary include answering telephones, filing documents and checking safety supplies.  Other positions one can consider for employees with medium duty restrictions include light maintenance, cleaning common areas, updating safety materials (policies and procedures and First Aid kits) and grounds maintenance.

 

  • RTW form development: Workers’ compensation is a form driven system which can be used to one’s advantage in the RTW setting.  Forms can include job offers, acceptance of duty letters and other communications.  Well drafted forms help communicate policies, procedures and expectations to everyone.

 

  • Communication with the workforce: It is important that all employees are aware of and understand a well-written and consistently implemented policy.  Steps to make sure this occurs includes incorporating the RTW aspects of the workplace into new employee orientation, easily accessible workers’ compensation forms, and ongoing education during quarterly/annual workplace safety training and meetings.  Mentioning it at all trainings reinforces the importance of RTW as a workplace policy and can boost workplace morale.

 

Conclusions

 

Lost time following a work injury reduces the profitability of an employer and increases the cost of a workers’ compensation program.  Taking affirmative steps to put injured people back to work through an RTW program, increase a program’s efficiency, and make a company for efficient.  Part of this includes creating an effective RTW policy and making sure it is implemented within a workplace environment.

 

 

 

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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