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Balancing Employee Health and Safety with Company Goals. Michael Erdil MD, FACOEM Occupational and Environmental Health Network Johnson Occupational Medicine Center. Potential Challenges In Workers Compensation. Conflicting goals and multiple parties Worker Employer, supervisor

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balancing employee health and safety with company goals

Balancing Employee Health and Safety with Company Goals

Michael Erdil MD, FACOEM

Occupational and Environmental Health Network

Johnson Occupational Medicine Center

potential challenges in workers compensation
Potential Challenges In Workers Compensation
  • Conflicting goals and multiple parties
    • Worker
    • Employer, supervisor
    • Treating providers (Primary WC and specialty MD/DO, DC, PT/OT, PCP, other)
    • Insurer / TPA, adjuster, case manager, utilization review
    • Attorneys
potential challenges in workers compensation1
Potential Challenges In Workers Compensation
  • Adversarial relationship among entities
  • Non evidence based care with suboptimal outcomes and excessive cost
  • Delayed recovery and associated indemnity and replacement costs
  • Communication breakdowns and poorly coordinated care and RTW
  • Lack of effective efforts regarding prevention
costs of musculoskeletal disorders
Costs of Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • LBP estimate $20-50+ billion annually
    • 5-10% = 80-90% of costs
  • Upper extremity MSDs
    • 25% = 89% total costs
  • Indirect costs perhaps up to 4x direct cost
  • Non-monetary considerations
  • Impact of comorbidities
organizational commitment to safety
Organizational Commitment to Safety
  • Establish and communicate goals
  • Active health and safety committee
  • Effective reporting of injuries, etc.
  • Consider injuries, non-acute MSDs, near misses as opportunity for improvement
align goals and educate
Align Goals and Educate
  • Timely evaluation and effective treatment
  • RTW goals
  • Communication standards
  • Facilitate payment to workers and health care providers
  • Track outcomes
new employee orientation
New Employee Orientation
  • Lifestyle issues: weight, smoking, etc.
  • Safety goals and prevention
  • Understanding timely injury reporting and WC system
  • How to obtain care
  • Most conditions respond to conservative care
new employee orientation1
New Employee Orientation
  • Home exercise and PT / OT
  • Early imaging not needed in the absence of red flags
  • Prolonged opioids and side effects, delayed recovery
    • CDC Risk Mitigation Strategies
  • Excessive lumbar spine surgery
    • 2/3 patients with lumbar fusion disabled at 2 years
    • Opioid dose often increases post-op
    • Opioids and post-op mortality
slide10

Age-Adjusted Death Rates* for Leading Causes of Injury Death,† by Year

- United States, 1979--2004

* Per 100,000 population.

† Coded according to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, during 1979--1998 and according to the Tenth Revision during 1999--2004. Additional information regarding classification of deaths according to intent and mechanism is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr54/nvsr54_10.pdf.

new employee orientation2
New Employee Orientation
  • Early RTW at modified duty often not harmful and can improve outcomes
    • Support from ACOEM, ODG, AAOS, AMA, other
low back pain at work principal recommendations
Low Back Pain at Work - Principal Recommendations
  • Carter JT, Birrell LN (Editors) 2000.
  • “Epidemiological and clinical follow-up studies show that early return to work (or continuing to work) with some persisting symptoms does not increase the risk of \'re-injury\' but actually reduces recurrences and sickness absence over the following year”
meet with primary occupational health providers
Meet With Primary Occupational Health Providers
  • Need for facilitated initial medical evaluation and follow-up
  • Clear description of treatment plan and appts
    • Evidence based medicine guides
  • Describe work capabilities and estimated full duty RTW target
    • Evidence based LOD targets
  • Real time communications
  • Outcomes
employer expectations for wc providers
Employer Expectations for WC Providers
  • Rousmaniere 1999 J. Work Comp
  • Ability to define and document work restrictions
  • Responsiveness
  • Appropriateness of referrals to specialists
  • Timeliness of reports from initial care providers
  • Quality of clinicians
patient satisfaction and provider communication re lbp
Patient Satisfaction and Provider Communication re: LBP
  • Shaw et al 2005, Dasinger et al 2001
  • Took problem seriously
  • Explained condition clearly
  • Tried to understand my job
  • Advised ways to prevent re-injury
  • Discussed my behavior that might influence recovery
  • Discussed my readiness for RTW
provider factors and increased length of disability
Provider Factors and Increased Length of Disability
  • Not knowing modified duty available
  • Provider unwillingness to cooperate with case management and RTW
  • PCP concerns re: offending patients
  • Difference of opinion on RTW among providers
worker factors and increased length of disability
Worker Factors and Increased Length of Disability
  • Short job tenure
  • Lower job satisfaction
  • Poor expectation on RTW
  • Coping issues
  • High pain levels and fear avoidance
  • Reporting delays
worker factors and increased duration of disability
Worker Factors and Increased Duration of Disability
  • Perceived lack of coworker support
  • Perceived lack of supervisor understanding and assistance on RTW
work factors and increased duration of disability
Work Factors and Increased Duration of Disability
  • No modified duty
  • No RTW coordinator
  • Higher physical demand levels
  • Supervisor support
employer opportunities
Employer Opportunities
  • Train supervisors on responding to injured workers
    • Inform workers of efforts to improve safety
    • Improve opportunity for worker injury reporting
    • Express concern for reported symptoms
    • Minimize blame and stigma
employer opportunities1
Employer Opportunities
  • Provide information to worker on obtaining treatment
  • Develop temporary alternative work options
    • May require communication with other departments
  • Involve worker in problem solving to address barriers to RTW at same job, modified job, other jobs
  • Overcoming fear of RTW and reinjury with graded RTW and monitoring
employer opportunities2
Employer Opportunities
  • Monitor worker during RTW transition
  • Coping issues
  • Dealing with heavy work demands with alternative solutions
  • Provider communication, ergonomic evaluations, assistance with PT / OT if questions regarding work demands and worker abilities
worker with prolonged lod
Worker with Prolonged LOD
  • Discuss RTW abilities/goals with worker, supervisor, provider, insurer
  • Encourage active worker participation
  • Return to own vs. any job
  • Use of FCE and IME
  • Barriers of collective bargaining agreements, employer policies
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