Communication is Key in Post Injury Procedures

 

Tight Post Injury Procedures Reduce Costs

 

Post injury procedures keep the circle of control between employees, the employer and the doctor. Companies need to have a tight post injury response procedure to keep down workers’ compensation costs. It is important to have a procedure in place to address an injury immediately after and for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the injury. This is because there must be communication between the employee, the doctor and the employer. Nothing can be left to chance.

 

There should be a contained process so that communication with the employee and the doctor moves in a continuous loop. Without this continuity, the employee and the doctor may become fragmented, breaking off from the employer, with the employee remaining out of work as a result. A tightly controlled post-injury response procedure keeps control of the communication process among the three parties: employee, employer and physician. If communication between these parties is in place, it is much more likely that the employee will return to work in a prudent but timely manner.

 

 

Employer’s Communication Most Important

 

The most important part of this procedure is the employer’s communication contact. The employer must have a responsible employee to serve as the primary contact point who is willing to take charge of immediate contacts and keeps this communication loop flowing. Of course, all your employees, managers and supervisors must know the name and phone number of this key contact person. Make sure the key contact’s name and contact information is posted prominently in all policy manuals, workers’ compensation communications and employee bulletin boards.

 

 

Employee Communication

 

Another important part of this procedure is the employee’s willingness to communicate. Employers should cultivate a workplace atmosphere that fosters and expects communication. Employees should be made aware of the fact that they are expected to not only communicate the fact of an injury, but also regularly update the employer about the course of the injury, particularly in its initial stages. Having one key, easy to reach contact person for the employee makes it much easier for an injured employee to keep in touch. Employers should not make injured employees make numerous calls to different departments or people to repeat the same information. It goes without saying that the contact person needs to be patient and kind while an injured employee (or their family member) who may be in pain or shock describes unfamiliar medical procedures, medications and treatment.

 

 

Medical Provider Communication

 

The medical providers are the third important component of this communication loop. Under law, the employee must sign the appropriate releases for the employee’s doctors to provide the employer with confidential medical information. Make sure the employee’s understand the expectation that they will sign these releases and that you all share the same goal of getting the employee well and back to work as soon as possible.

 

 

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.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. 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 about workers comp issues.

Employer Silence is Root of Many Workers Comp Problems

 

46% of Workers Incorrectly Think Claims Being Contested
 
Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has published a most welcome study into the reasons that workers get compensation lawyers. The most disturbing reason, cited by 46% of workers surveyed, was that they thought their claims had been contested, even though the paperwork had just begun and no decisions had yet been made.
 
People working with claims, any kind of claims, understand that there is an initial lag, ranging from days to months, before an administrative agency becomes active on a claim. An insurance company usually, but certainly not always, is quicker to respond, but “quick” might mean weeks, and a family suddenly without a weekly check and little or no savings will be on the verge of panic.
 
 
Lawyer Should Not Be One Communicating with Worker
 
If they consult a lawyer, they will quickly learn that the resolution is inevitably going to take time. But why must they hear that from a lawyer? Every risk manager or human resources chief could tell them that a lot faster (and cheaper!)
 
But there is something else your personnel can tell a worker who has just filed a comp claim – how to receive information and, if necessary, some form of income continuation. (A lawyer could tell them the same, but many don’t and it isn’t nearly as comforting as hearing it from the employer.)
 
The study mentioned another fact. When an employer is small enough to know everyone in the workplace (say 200 employees or so) comp problems grow more slowly than when the employee has no one in charge who knows them. (Julius Caesar was famed as a military leader because he could address all centurions in his army by their names- over 500. If he could do it, with a bit of effort you can do it with 200.)
 
 
It is Your Responsibility
 
Finally, there is the old problem of “falling between two stools”, meaning that there is always help at hand, but everyone assumes that someone else will provide it. Rather than rely on a disastrous assumption, just reach out and communicate. An employer that stays in continuous touch during the month or two following a reported injury will be the first to learn of a problem, and the first to propose a solution. And somewhere, a lawyer won’t get that first phone call.
 
If a worker (and the spouse!) is aware that the employer will nudge a silent bureaucracy with a call, the comp problems will start small and grow smaller.
 
 
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net  
 
Editor 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.  
 
©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. 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 about workers comp issues.

Post Injury Procedures: Communication is Key

 

Post injury procedures keep the circle of control between employees, the employer and the doctor. Companies need to have a tight post injury response procedure to keep down workers’ compensation costs. It is important to have a procedure in place to address an injury immediately after and for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the injury. This is because there must be communication between the employee, the doctor and the employer. Nothing can be left to chance.

 

There should be a contained process so that communication with the employee and the doctor moves in a continuous loop. Without this continuity, the employee and the doctor may become fragmented, breaking off from the employer, with the employee remaining out of work as a result. A tightly controlled post-injury response procedure keeps control of the communication process among the three parties: employee, employer and physician. If communication between these parties is in place, it is much more likely that the employee will return to work in a prudent but timely manner.

 

Do you need help developing your post injury processes? We have consulting and training services available to help you at http://reduceyourworkerscomp.com/services/workers-compensation-consulting/#axzz2DKMATXF3. Or, to have a reference guide on hand to consult, see our book at http://reduceyourworkerscomp.com/workers-comp-cost-reduction-guide-book/#axzz2DKMATXF3.

 

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.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. 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 about workers comp issues.

Employers Hold The Key to Controlling Workers Comp Claims Costs

 

Employers Are Most Important Piece in Communication
 
Many employers limit their participation in their own work comp claims hoping that the carrier will do nearly all of the work. It seems, to many employers, that it goes with the premium. However, as any trial attorney appreciates, whoever volunteers to become the communications center will control the progress of the claim.
 
Communications in comp claims are quite complex. It is wrongly imagined that the parties (employer and worker) are not allowed to communicate with each other during a claim. This is entirely false and the law requires that each MUST stay in touch with the other. In addition, one or both must often communicate with the carrier, the Work Comp Board, medical providers, health insurance and group disability carriers as well as a variety of agencies.
 
The flow of data among all these will quickly bring a claim to a halt unless properly coordinated. Delay costs money in comp and it’s only the employer who pays.
 
 
Take Control of Costs Through Communication
 
The cheapest and fastest way an employer can prevent unnecessary delay and confusion is to make sure that all other parties are copied on any piece of information the employer receives, from whatever source. Group medical plans are especially concerned that they may be paying unintentionally for a comp claim. Employers will often receive requests for information during a claim. Resist the temptation to refer the requests to someone else or stonewall the situation. By coordinating the requests with other parties you will maintain control and limit misunderstandings, a leading cause of soaring expense and lost time.
 
 
Right to Confidentiality is Waived
 
It is a misconception that medical information is automatically protected by a “right to privacy”. Whenever a claim for disability is made the “right to confidentiality” is waived. (“Right to privacy” does not apply to medical records, although the term is often misapplied to what is “right to confidentiality”)
 
Every year seems to bring new players into the field of employee benefits with ever more exchanges required. Stonewalling will work, for a while, but the bill to be paid in the end will be much higher.
 
 

Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net

 

Editor 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


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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.

 

©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.

Do Your Employees Know Your Safety Plans, Survey Says NO

 

*Gaps Seen in Workers’ Awareness of Company Safety Plans, Preparedness

 

A Staples.com survey of small business managers and office workers on office health and safety showed gaps in office workers’ awareness of companies’ safety plans and preparedness, a situation that could lead to increased accidents and injuries.

 

The survey, conducted in advance of National Safety Month, found that managers were far better informed on workplace safety preparedness than office workers, who were uncertain on what they should do in case of an emergency. [WCx]

 

For example, nearly 70 percent of managers say their company has an emergency communication plan, but nearly half of office workers are either unsure if a plan exists or say their company doesn’t have a plan. In addition, 50 percent of office workers said they participate in safety drills only once every few years or never. Only 19 percent of office workers think their company is prepared for a major medical emergency.

 

According to the survey, managers were almost 50 percent more likely than non-managers to be able to locate their company’s safety-related supplies such as defibrillators, eye wash, dust masks, and caution and wet floor signs.

 

Additional safety findings:

 

— When it comes to fire, more than 70 percent of both managers and office workers felt their company was somewhat or very prepared.

 

— When it comes to flooding only 50 percent of employees felt their company was adequately prepared. This is a particularly concerning statistic because, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office, flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather-related event, costing an average of $4.6 billion a year.

 

— While 56 percent of managers said they were either very prepared or somewhat prepared in case of a hazardous material exposure, only 23 percent of office workers said they would know what to do in that circumstance. [WCx].

 

The Staples.com Safety Survey was conducted through a third party research company and had 412 total respondents, (208 office managers and 204 office workers) from small businesses with under 50 employees.

 

 

<pAuthor 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.

 

 

 


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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.

 

©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.

 

Employee Communication is Vital to Workers Comp Success

One factor that correlates strongly with the employer’s ability to control workers compensation cost is the ability to communicate effectively with employees.  The importance of quality communications with the employee cannot be overstated. The level and quality of communications will often make a difference in the final outcome of the workers comp claim.
 

 
Communications can be formal and informal. Formal communications include published policies, brochures and posters advising the employee of the work coverage benefits, and written documents / procedures outlining the roles and responsibilities of the employee and other personnel when a workers comp claim occurs. Also, a log where a summary is recorded of each verbal communication with the employee would be classified as formal. (WCxKit)
 
 
The informal level of communication would include both telephone conversations and face-to-face discussions with the employee. Informal communications would also include any voice mail or get well cards sent to the employee.
 
 
Through proper communication with the employees, the employer provides and receives information from the employee.  If the communications become a one-way street with the employee or employer providing all the information, the communications are not effective.  The balance between receiving and providing information should remain roughly equal.
 
 
Communications with the employee should start before there is a workers comp claim. This would be done:

 

By establishing the employee’s responsibility to report an injury accident immediately,
By having safety training sessions,
By establishing procedures the employee is to follow if there is an accident, and,
By communicating the importance of the modified duty program.
 
 
This proactive communication before an accident will pave the way for smoother handling of each claim, if and when one does occur.
 
 
After the injury it is equally important to communicate with the employee.  Contacting the employee immediately after the first medical treatment conveys to the employee a level of caring and concern about their wellbeing.  The employer should remain in contact with the employee throughout the recovery process.  The best way to do this is via a weekly scheduled phone call or having the employee call in after each medical visit.  The information discussed on these calls allows the employer to more easily respond to the injured employee's concerns.  
 
Most employees do not obtain an attorney out of greed or a desire to get something more than they deserve.  Most employees obtain attorneys because the level of communications between the employer and the employee is inadequate, or the level of communications between the adjuster and the employee is inadequate.  When there is an adequate conveyance of information between the employer and the employee, the employee does not see a “need” to get an attorney.
 
 
By keeping the employee thoroughly informed it conveys to the employee that he/she is important to the employer.  This will lead to an increased desire to understand company policies and how the employee can comply with these policies. (WCxKit)
 
 
There are various additional ways an employer can keep good communications with the injured employee throughout the claims process.  To learn more about how you can improve your communications with the employees, please contact us for your copy of 2012 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.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

Editor 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. Contact Mstack@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.

Getting the Best Initial Care for Your Injured Workers

As an employer, you want your injured employees to get the best care available when they are hurt. You also want to find healthcare providers who understand your company’s specific goals, needs, and possibilities. And you want them focused on the bottom line as well.  A very tricky balancing act –  but a necessary one!

 

 

How can you locate and identify a good initial healthcare provider? Here are a couple of suggestions from a case management nurse who has been around the block a few (million!) times: (WCxKit)

 

 

  1. For your initial evaluation and treatment, a great choice is an experienced Occupational and Environmental Health Physician (OEM). This is a specialty of physicians who evaluate the interaction between work and health. An Occupational Health doctor should be familiar with work operations, return to work procedures, workers compensation laws in your jurisdiction, and many other related topics.   Please note:Just because the local clinic calls itself an “Occupational Health Clinic” don’t assume the doctors are Occupational and Environmental Medicine Physicians!

 

 

  1. As you are selectingor reviewing your panel provider for occupational health, CALL the center and speak to the administrator. Set up a tour. Meet with the doctor(s). Ask about their specialty and experience. You are putting your employees’ health and your money into their hands, so go and check them out. Trust me — if the doctors won’t play nice with you, they certainly won’t play nice with your injured workers.

 

 

  1. If you’re not sure where to find a qualified OEM doctor, check out the website for the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, www.acoem.organd click on “Find a Doctor.”

 

 

  1. If you are in a locationwhere there is no qualified OEM nearby, talk with your nearest occupational health center’s medical director and make sure he or she is familiar with your state workers compensation laws, your company’s policies regarding post-injury care and return-to-work, and that the doctor is willing to keep in close contact with you during treatment of your injured employee. Feel free to send over your own post-accident form for the doctor to complete, if you don’t like the form the center provides. You’re paying for this service – make it work for you!

 

 

  1. PAs and NPs and DOs, oh my!Yes, there are too many initials in medicine. Let’s see try to clear up some you might encounter at your Occupational Health Center.

 

 

PA = Physician Assistant

A PA has completed an educational program lasting approximately 26 months; is state-licensed and certified by examination, and must complete continuing education regularly. A PA can prescribe medications, and must work under the supervision of a physician.

 

 

NP = Nurse Practitioner

An NP has completed graduate education as a Nurse Practitioner beyond the Registered Nurse program, either to the master or doctorate degree level; is state-licensed and nationally certified by examination, and must complete regular continuing education. A NP can prescribe medications and, depending on the regulations of their state may or may not function under a physician’s direction. Some states allow NPs to set up private practices without physician supervision. Other states require some collaborative agreement with a physician. (State Requirements)

 

 

DO = Doctor of Osteopathy

Yes, they are “real doctors.” To generalize greatly, DOs have the same scope of practice as MDs, though there are differences in their training and treatment techniques. DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine throughout the United States.

 

 

Overall, we recommend good old fashion COMMUNICATION! If you or a supervisor, adjuster, or case manager isn’t comfortable calling your healthcare provider to touch base about a tricky case, then you’re using the wrong facility. (WCxKit)

 

 

Remember, if you are in a Employer-Choice or Panel state, this is YOUR CHOICE. Make an informed decision. Be comfortable with your choice. If you’re in an Employee-Choice state, it’s still a good idea to have an Occupational Health center you are comfortable with and use.   Often, you’ll end up sending your injured worker there, at least for an initial evaluation and quick treatment.

 

 

Starting with the best possible healthcare provider gets your claim off on the right foot (or shoulder, back, knee . . .). Do your homework and you’ll be ready!

 

 

Author: Kelly Haile, RN, CCM, WCCM is an experienced Nurse Case Manager who advocates working closely with each employer to refine their Workers Comp program to provide better post-injury care, excellent medical case management and timely communication. We provide services primarily in the PA, NJ, DE and MD areas.  You can reach Kelly in her role as Director of Case Management at NursePartners, LLC, by phone at 610-323-9800, fax 610-323-8018, Email: khaile@nptrs.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.


©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact 
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

No News is NOT Good News, When Managing Work Comp Claims

Work comp operates under certain presumptions, one of which is that unless an employer provides information to the contrary there is a near certainty that the workers will have every issue resolved, eventually, in their favor. Even if the information is provided it may be arriving too late to change a judge’s opinion about a claim, if the other side gets its info in first. And there remains the nagging question about why an employer would withhold information that was to its advantage.
 
The answers lie in the fact that most employers, after they complete a report of injury, think the active role is over. Surely, the carrier or Board will inform them if more is needed.
 
Almost always, much more IS needed and the employer is the best and/or the ONLY source of such information. But if no one asks, why should the employer volunteer information? Silence in such cases is golden – but not for the employer.
          
An employer must first realize           that every comp claim belongs to it and it alone. A carrier is paid to assist and is a surety for payment – but all expenses will ultimately be borne by the employer – sooner, later and often both.
 
An employer is not expected to be an expert in comp law or procedure – but they can and should be curious and concerned. Calling the carrier and discussing what documents are available that shed light on an employee’s past known history of claims and injuries or illness is invaluable to a defense, especially if the documents are sent ahead to the carrier in a timely fashion. “Timely,” in this case, means as soon as possible.

A Roman poet once wrote
: “words are treacherous companions, but silence is a faithful friend.” Very true, but the poet was writing for the benefit of someone who had something to hide. In work comp, silence is the best friend an incorrect decision against an employer could ever have.
 
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, New York. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans, and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100.
 
 
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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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