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May 2009

Injury Management 201

I want to take a look at the documentation and training needs that come with having a successful injury management program. I'm sure you're aware of the inevitable paperwork that comes with seeing a doctor – from diagnosis, to follow-up treatment, to providing the healthcare provider accurate documentation. All are part of the claim management.

The first thing the healthcare provider will need to know is what type of work the injured worker does. The job description you provide will enable the treating physician to determine if the employee can go back to the job. Additionally, it is the key to keeping the employee in the workplace even if they have physical restrictions. It's important to remember that the doctor will try to keep an employee on the job if at all possible, as it is a proven way to accelerate the healing process. The days of "stay at home for a couple of weeks" are long gone. Keeping active, staying with the work routine and being engaged with your livelihood is now a major part of the cure.

If the worker is unable to do their usual job they may be able to come back on light-duty or restricted duty.  This is part of your company's Return to Work Program. The documentation associated with this process is of great importance – in essence it is the roadmap to recovery. Remember, that if you vary from the Return to Work Program, what initially was a simple treatment plan can quickly become a legal field day. The bottom line is, if all three parties (employee, employer and healthcare provider) communicate accurately and with great frequency, staying on the road to recovery should be easy.

A quick plug for training – train your employees on properly reporting an injury. The employees must know that the company has a detailed injury management program in order to participate accordingly, should a claim arise. Their immediate report of an injury and adherence to any restricted work program and treatment plan are essential parts of a successful injury management program.