Three workers were injured on the job. Although the injuries were not life threatening, the first worker immediately rushed to the emergency room for treatment. The second worker visited his family physician for treatment. The third worker visited a physician designated by this employer’s insurance company. Which story had a happier ending for both the employee and employer? The worker who visited the designated physician.
By visiting a designated physician, the employee received quality care from an occupational medicine specialist. As a result, the injured employee returned to work sooner. For the employer, having access to a network of designated physicians resulted in a more efficient and effective way of handing work-related illness and injuries, which translated into a reduction in workers’ compensation claims.
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For the past 20 years, EMC and its policyholders have benefited from using designated physicians for workers’ compensation claims. Some of those benefits include:
- Designated physicians that specialize in treating workplace injuries understand how to read job descriptions and often visit the workplace to better understand the nature of specific jobs.
- Because they specialize in occupational medicine, designated physicians are more familiar with the workers’ compensation system, which streamlines the claims process for all parties.
- Designated physicians work closely with employers, injured employees and the workers’ compensation claims adjuster. Improved communications positively affects the efficiency of the claims-handling process.
- Having a designated provider may help injured workers return to work faster, which helps reduce the risk they will be out for good. One study showed that a worker off 3 weeks has a 75% chance of returning to work, whereas a worker off 6 weeks has a 50% change of returning to work.
- Depending on the injury, a visit to a designated urgent care physician is much less expensive than a visit to the emergency room.
Designated physicians help streamline the claims handling process, but early reporting of injuries is just as important. EMC recommends the following procedures be taken in the first 48 hours following an injury to ensure that the injured workers get the attention they need, and the claims process is set in motion for an effective resolution:
- The employee should follow your established reporting procedures
- All information regarding the injury should be collected while the incident is still fresh in the employee’s mind
- The employee should be directed to a designated physician for prompt medical care
- The injury should be reported to EMC in a timely, well-documented manner
A designated physician program can help you better control workers’ compensation costs, provide quality care to employees and help them return to work as quickly and safely as possible.