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Improving Communication between Injured Workers and Workers' Comp Insurers for Better Outcomes and Lower Costs

Posted by Danny Sanchez, PT, CEAS on November 03, 2015

How To Effectively Increase Employee Engagement With Your Injured Worker http://www.onsite-physio.com/workplace-wellness-programs/improving-communication-between-injured-workers-and-workers-comp-insurers-for-better-outcomes-and-lower-costs @onsitephysio

To be effective, communication about workers’ comp claims must include everyone. Communication has to be ongoing. It should happen in real time. The problem is that often only one or two people know what’s happening with a claim. That’s not efficient. It causes confusion and delays. As a workers’ comp professional, you know how frustrating it is to feel out of the loop.

Why Work to Improve Communication?

You should never have to wonder about the status of an injured worker or a claim. Improving communication gives you control. It helps:

  • Ensure company compliance with ADA and other regulations
  • Ensure injured worker compliance with their treatment plan
  • Return workers to their job sooner
  • Reduce re-injury rates

Better communication increases efficiency, and that saves time and money. It also boosts employee morale and job satisfaction. That helps reduce turnover and sustain your company’s productivity.

How Do You Get Better Communication?

1. Streamlined end-to-end claims management.

It takes many people to resolve a workers’ comp claim. That includes your injured worker and insurer. But it also includes the adjuster, case manager, doctor, physical therapist, and you.

You need a service provider you can count on. One that gives you a dedicated representative, to improve communication. Someone who knows your company. Someone who provides you with regular progress updates. Someone you can call whenever you have a question.

You need a comprehensive approach, instead of merely fulfilling claims. Better communication keeps everyone up-to-date with the details of each claim. That’s far more efficient. When everyone is working in partnership, you can be proactive. You can focus on wellness, preventing future injuries, and avoiding “hiring injuries.”

2. On-site physical therapy.

Conducting therapy sessions at your injured worker’s jobsite improves communication between worker and therapist. The therapist can see where the person works and exactly what they do. After all, someone who works in a hotel has a very different job than someone who works in a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

The physical therapist can tailor rehabilitation to the job. That helps workers return to fit-for-duty status sooner. The therapist can also show them how to prevent future injuries. That benefits everybody. 

On-site physical therapy allows therapists to devote 100% of their attention to one person - the injured worker - they can communicate clearly with each other about the healing process and progress. Your worker gains confidence and can improve faster. That reduces out-of-work time and costs.

3. Post-Offer Employment Testing (POET).

Incorporating POET into the hiring process further improves communication. POET gives you a clear baseline of your employee’s pre-injury strength and range of motion. That helps their doctor and physical therapist develop the most appropriate plan of care should an injury occur. POET is extremely cost-effective. Studies show employers can save $14 for every dollar spent on post-offer employment testing. (Harbin)

POET also helps you create more accurate job descriptions. You can clearly explain the essential physical requirements of the job to prospective employees. This up-front communication helps avoid hiring mistakes.

Your ultimate goal is worksite wellness. You can achieve that goal by taking a “big picture” approach to workers’ comp. Improving communication among all parties is the key. You won’t waste money on treatments and doctors that don’t get people healthy and back to work. You won’t waste time and energy wondering about a claim’s status. And you won’t have to worry about hiring future injuries.

Harbin G, Olson J. Post offer, pre-placement testing in industry. Am J Ind Med. 2005; 47: 296-307National Benchmark Survey - Onsite Physio

 

National Benchmark Survey - Onsite Physio

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