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The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently released two articles featuring employer and insurer insights on post-injury return-to-work (RTW) programs. They agreed on the following RTW success factors:
The NCCI’s mission is to “foster a healthy workers’ compensation system.” It gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. In reference to its research, the NCCI says “helping an injured employee recover and return to work safely is a fundamental component of a healthy workers’ compensation system.”
As an occupational health services provider, WorkCare agrees with the RTW success factors identified by employers and insurers and offers another perspective. Our clients encourage their employees to report work-related injuries, illnesses and physical discomfort at onset so we can initiate immediate clinical intervention – before a workers’ compensation claim is filed.
We know from many years of experience operating a 24/7 telehealth contact center (Incident Intervention) that the majority of non-emergency work-related injuries can be appropriately self-managed with first aid and guidance from occupational physicians and nurses. In some cases, we refer the employee to a local clinic for further diagnosis and potential treatment, as clinically warranted. We also facilitate referral to a local provider when a work supervisor or injured employee requests an in-person visit.
WorkCare’s occupational health practitioners are specialists who are familiar with workplace exposure hazards and commonly occurring conditions that often result in workers’ compensation claims and lost time. Whether an injury is self-managed or referred to a clinic, our clinicians follow best medical practices. We support safe return to work in some capacity (e.g., full or temporarily modified duty) because remaining at work promotes healing. Working affects quality of life in many ways – physically, financially, socially and psychologically. Not working often leads to absence, prolonged recovery and poorer outcomes.
The parameters for successful RTW identified in the NCCI articles align with the SPICE model of care used by WorkCare clinicians. The SPICE model emphasizes:
Our approach is designed to deliver the “right care, at the right time, in the right setting” – never less care – and to help people safely remain at work, even with discomfort, so they can be productive while healing from an injury or illness.
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