Sometimes in the workers’ compensation arena, doctors are left in the dark about the actual working conditions of employees they treat for work-related injuries. From inviting physicians to tour the workplace to reaching out when applicable, here are the steps you can take today to ensure a positive relationship with your provider in the future.
Step #1: Communication Is Key
A crucial first step is establishing a designated, initial treating physician who will provide the best medical care for your injured employee. We cannot stress enough how important it is to communicate to the provider the type of work and job duties that are assigned to the employee so he can make a proper assessment of his patient’s ability to return to work.
Step #2: Convey Your Culture
The next step is to set up a face-to-face meeting with the provider at his office to introduce company staff, give an overview of the type of work environment that employees are exposed to in their daily work activities and develop a positive rapport with open lines of communication.
Oftentimes without this information, a provider will assume that the facility has the dirtiest or harshest work environment possible. By going over company safety philosophy, policies and light duty options, the provider gains a better understanding of what type of culture an employee is returning to and the type of work that can be adapted to light duty that will fit his patient.
Step #3: Don’t Forget the Follow-up
After this initial meeting, a follow-up onsite visit by the provider is always beneficial. Since a provider’s schedule is limited, be flexible and willing to work around the provider’s availability. By actually meeting other company leaders and seeing firsthand the work area, the provider is better able to make return to work and restriction recommendations. During this visit, it is always a good idea to give a tour of the facility and to show light duty jobs that are available.
Step #4: Timing Is Everything
If an injury does occur, it is imperative that a company representative set up the initial appointment with the provider quickly. This way, the provider understands the urgency to get the injured employee treated as soon as possible to ensure the best possible medical outcome.
The ultimate goal of any safety program is to keep employees safe and prevent accidents and injuries from happening in the first place. However, when accidents do occur, having quality providers readily available to treat employees is key to a positive outcome for everyone. And if you and your company follow the steps outlined above, a positive relationship with the provider can be established starting now so that if or when accidents do occur, your company employees are given priority!
Written by: Loren Traylor, Director of Program Development at THE FUND