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Early Claim Reporting & Early Return to Work

January 22, 2014

The start of a new year is a great time to review two key workers’ compensation best practices employers can use for a higher level of control over their workplace injuries. These two fundamental strategies can help reduce claim severity, lower claim costs and create better outcomes.

First, early claim reporting is a crucial initial step in controlling costs.Numerous national studies show the longer it takes for a claim to reported, the costlier the claim. That’s why CareWorks offers a number of efficient options for reporting new workers’ compensation claims, including fax, telephone, online and email reporting.

Second is developing a plan to bring injured workers back to work by offering transitional duties.Transitional work allows injured employees to perform valuable work during their recovery as opposed to staying home from work.

There are four primary benefits to effective transitional work.

  1. Employees remain active and productive during their recovery, helping prevent loss of physical fitness and muscle tone due to inactivity.
  2. Employees can earn full or partial wages during the transitional period, bringing income closer to pre-injury wages and helping alleviate concerns about continued employment.
  3. Getting back to a day-to-day routine helps injured employees experience less disruption in their life and provides contact and support from co-workers.
  4. Having an experienced staff member back in the workforce can help employers avoid expenses associated with hiring and training new employees.

These benefits are in line with the widely known statistics showing the longer an injured worker is off work, the harder it is for them to return. If the employee is off work for too long, statistics dramatically fall for the injured worker ever returning to work.

Keys to a Healthy Recovery

Today, the strategy of having employees only work when fully recovered can be considered a non-progressive approach. National studies report that work is generally good for health and well-being. While employers often focus primarily on physical recovery, the time an injured employee spends away from their career and peers can be just as traumatic as the injury itself.

Injured employees are often limited in what tasks they can perform when they first return to their job based on work restrictions prescribed by their healthcare provider. Yet, today’s occupational health providers are more receptive to working with employers and focusing on an injured employee’s abilities as opposed to their disabilities. They share the same goal of returning an injured employee to productivity as soon as medically possible because of the positive impact work can have on achieving a healthy long-term recovery.

Don’t Have the Time or Budget for Early Return to Work?

The actual truth is many employers don’t have the time or the budget to afford even just one lost time claim. Transitional and alternative duty programs are designed to give employers the tools they need to achieve early return to work and eliminate the occurrence of costly lost time claims.

Combining early reporting with transitional work can result, more times than not, in injured employees returning to healthy, productive lifestyles quicker and safer. The optimum outcomes are improved employee morale, a healthier workforce and a financially stronger organization.

Thank you for continuing to support CareWorks as your Ohio workers’ compensation managed care organization (MCO). We look forward to sharing more news and information with you throughout 2014; helping you best manage your workplace injuries and promoting safe and healthy lifestyles for your valuable employees.

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