Occupational Health refers to the many disciplines devoted to the safety and well-being of employees in the workplace, often concentrating on injury prevention. Even with solid practices in place, accidents do occur, and having an experienced occupational healthcare provider you trust can make all the difference. Workplace injuries can result in lost time, indemnity costs, and lower productivity for an employer. Studies have shown that the same workplace injury can have catastrophic consequences to the long-term financial well-being of the employee.
With the potential consequences of a workplace injury for all involved, it is surprising that many employers don’t have a criteria-driven process for choosing the best occupational healthcare provider for their circumstances. This is especially true for small and medium sized employers who have infrequent injuries. Although choice of provider varies by state (employer, employee, or a mixture of both), having the right provider available is crucial to a successful outcome for both the employer and employee.
Here are a few things for employers to keep in mind when selecting an occupational healthcare provider:
- Clinical focus on rapid return-to-work
Much like the immediate way an injured athlete is handled after an injury, a workers’ compensation injury benefits by fast intervention, definitive diagnosis, and a decisive treatment plan in a compressed timeframe. Look for providers that also coordinate care and work restrictions with the use of employer light-duty programs (also known as modified or transition duty).
Without effective communication between the employer and provider, coordination of care is impossible.Effective communication should include a work status report after each visit that clearly indicates diagnosis, treatment plan (including any external referral order), work restrictions, and follow-up visit date and time. Another example of effective communication is a call from the provider to the employer after the first visit to discuss the case, treatment plan and coordinating return-to-work.
When an injury happens, having a chosen provider who is nearby is an important consideration. While quality of care and trust in the provider is paramount, the travel time to a clinic for injury care should be a concern to balance. Injured workers in light-duty may also have transportation difficulties in getting to necessary follow-up visits.
- Referral network
Although an employer or employer’s insurance carrier may have preferred specialists to handle referred patients, an experienced occupational healthcare provider will also have developed a network of high performing specialists at the ready. These high performing specialists should be experienced in treating work-related injuries and equally adept in communicating with the employer.
Managing a work-related injury can be more challenging without preparation. Choosing the right provider is the key. At AFC, we are committed to serving the needs of employers and employees with consistency, compassion, and communication. With over 200 clinics nationwide, getting the right care, right now has never been easier. To learn more about American Family Care visit https://www.afcurgentcare.com/services/occupational-medicine/.