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13 Questions That Can Improve Your Workers' Comp Program

Posted by Jennifer Wright on September 23, 2015

13 Questions That Can Improve Your Workers' Comp Program http://blog.onsite-physio.com/workplace-wellness-programs/13-questions-that-can-improve-your-workers-comp-program @onsitephysio
Do you have full control of your workers’ comp program? Do you feel that you are always left in the dark about your workers’ comp claims? Stop stressing over the unknowns and start getting answers. Below is a list of questions to ask yourself about your worker’s comp program. By implementing these steps in your worker’s comp claims, you can start getting better results from your workers comp program. These questions are designed to give you a better understanding of what your employees are doing, how this treatment will impact your company’s ability to service clientele, and reduce the chances of re-injury.

1) How quickly can my injured worker get into the appropriate treatment program?
The faster your employee gets treatment the better. But it can take days, or even weeks, for an employee to see a physical therapist for an injury in traditional programs.

2) How are your injured workers’ visits scheduled?
On-site physical therapists schedule the appointments according to the workers'/employer's schedule. Those appointments can disrupt your hotel’s work capacity. Especially if the employee is absent for long periods of time during a work shift. The treatment appointments can also be very spread out, meaning your employees’ full recovery takes longer. It’s more cost-effective if you actively manage your employees’ care plan.

3) Who will manage the case?
Knowing whom you can call to check in on your employee's progress can be useful. You’ll be able to plan around her return to work. You can estimate and provide performance feedback — if the employee is on light duty. Lastly, you can point out areas of concern about his job that might impact his treatment.

4) How can I keep track of outcomes?
You should know what a healed employee looks like according to the experts. You will want to understand the process of her injury and recovery. It will allow you to see when she is better and check for the possibility of a re-injury. You might also see signs of future injuries when observing other employees performing tasks. If you can take note of these signs, you can help prevent future injuries from happening.

5) Once a treatment plan is in place, where is your employee receiving treatment? Do you get to choose where your injured worker is having therapy?
Most of the time the answer is no. If you have a say, pick the most effective physical therapist. The most cost-effective option also happens to be the most beneficial for healing — physical therapy delivered at the work site. Otherwise, your employee may need to leave for an appointment during work hours.

6) How many therapy visits should you expect to pay for?
Some clinics, and patients, continue therapy longer than needed. It’s much smarter to set clear goals for the treatment including an anticipated timeline for recovery. It’s not just about saving money. It's also about helping the worker feeling confident and optimistic about their recovery.

7) If the employee is still working, is he missing work to go to therapy sessions?
For an offsite therapy session, most workers leave for about three hours (depending on travel distance). You may not be able to change an employee’s appointment. Yet a small amount of oversight can reduce the urge on his part to increase the length or frequency of his absence. Check to see if the employee has an appointment and that he showed up for it on time. Then check to see that he made it back to work within a reasonable time after his appointment.

Of course, if the therapy is provided on-site, there’s no need to worry about this!

8) How long will your injured worker be gone, in total, to get all treatments?
Knowing this figure will help when you’re calculating the cost of the injury. Look at the cost of lost work time for the injured employee. Don’t forget the transportation cost for that worker to and from treatment. Also look at the time it took you to rearrange the work schedule to cover for her. Those hidden costs are often overlooked.

9) How long will your treatment last? Will he have more therapy sessions than necessary?
Some employees and therapists will continue therapy until you say stop. It’s good to know how many sessions are initially prescribed. Then, find out if additional sessions are needed, and why. Understand right from the start of treatment what physical goals must be achieved in order for your worker to be healed, or at least returned to work for light duty. The employee should be given the confidence to return to work without fear of re-injury.

10) When will your worker be well enough to come back to work? How do you define a healed injury?
Consider how you measure your workers’ job performance. Is there a metric you could use to confirm when an employee is back to full strength? There are companies that provide baseline tests to measure range of motion at the time the worker was hired. These tests can tell you if and when he gets injured on the job at a later date, what your hotel’s responsibility is, and what your injured worker’s responsibility is. Those metrics can be valuable tools in saving your hotel unnecessary rehab expenses and in returning your injured work back to work, faster.

11) What, if any, are the re-injury dangers?
Look for places you can tighten your safety processes. Look for ways to prevent repetitive motion type injuries. Invest in safety programs for your workers to prevent future injuries.

12) What are the chances your worker will get re-injured?
Some injuries reoccur because the worker’s strength never regains to the level it used to be. Yet with properly planned therapy, you can reduce the risk of her re-injury. Best practices include having someone spot-check workers while they are on the job to correct their risky activities.

13) What can you do to minimize the risk of re-injury?
Ask the therapist for input on ways you can help the worker reduce the strain on the injured area. He may have a suggestion for performing a task in a safer, more effective way.

We have a good idea of what you’re probably thinking. "There’s no way my TPA or physical therapy provider will give me this information. They don’t have time or the process to consult with me like this." You might be right. But until you ask, how will you know for sure? If they don't — maybe it’s time to consider an alternative.

Whenever you travel, there are always lots of different routes you can take. Dealing with workers' compensation injuries is no different. There are other ways to get the results you need. Faster, more convenient and even more effective ways that can put "you" back in control, instead of feeling powerless to do anything. Or … you can stay where you are and put up with the status quo.

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