Corporate Health UPDATE

Corporate Health UPDATE monthly e-newsletter


Welcome to the "Corporate Health UPDATE" monthly e-newsletter. We are proud of the growth and enhancements to our program since inception in 2004, and now offer a convenient way to keep you informed. 

Our monthly e-newsletter provides you with up-to-date information from one of our Occupational Medicine experts, helping you stay abreast of current issues and trends. Our e-newsletter is a must-read for individuals dealing with occupational health and safety in the workplace.

Our goal is to partner with you by providing creative and innovative resources to help you assure a healthy and productive workforce. The outcome of this vision is to bring a sense of unprecedented value to you and your business. View our featured article of the month or find another from the e-newsletter archive listed below.

 

July 2016

Documentation and the Mitigation of Systemic Risk 

By Bradley Bower, MD
Medical Director
Palomar Corporate Health 

The California Workers’ Compensation system poses a potential quagmire to all involved parties, including patients, providers, insurers and employers.  Avoiding the WC quagmire necessitates the institution of risk management strategies that begin with the establishment of sound evaluation and documentation processes.   

Toward the mitigation of systemic risk and promotion of case containment, we have undertaken a systemic assessment of our medical documentation systems, which are now undergoing significant modification and overhaul.   Some of these changes may be apparent already.   Improvements that are currently in place include the institution of thorough patient intake questionnaires, revision of the work status report, and revision of the post-offer evaluation intake forms.  

Injury Intake Forms

We have developed and implemented comprehensive injury intake questionnaires for injured employees to complete on their initial and subsequent visits.  The initial intake form facilitates a detailed intake of patient history, including prior injuries.  Additionally, the injured workers are required to provide detailed responses to describe the injury event and symptom development.  The provision of a detailed history regarding past orthopedic problems and other pertinent information is required.   The questionnaire presented for follow-up evaluations requires the completion of pain diagrams on every visit to facilitate an accurate capture of the patient’s current symptoms.  While these intake forms increase the amount of paperwork required of the injured worker, we consider this time well spent.   
 
Work Status Report  (WSR)

A functional Work Status Report (WSR) is an essential tool for employers, facilitating their ability to place their injured worker into a safe temporary restricted work assignment during the healing process.   The amount of work an individual performs is not only a function of how much they lift, but how often.  The new WSR allows for the provision of work restrictions that are quantifiable in terms of frequency of movement, as well as amount of lifting, pushing and pulling that is deemed safe.  Establishing clear work parameters enhances the safety of the injured worker while optimizing the likelihood of placing the worker into a temporary work assignment.  The provision of clearly written work restrictions is critical to maintaining the injured worker’s ability to continue contributing to the workforce.  This in turn promotes the injured worker’s maintenance of structure and healing.  We consider the revised WSR an effective, comprehensive and actionable document that will serve all parties well. 

Post Offer Physical Documentation

The goal of a post offer physical is to ensure employees are physically capable of performing the essential functions of their job safely.  Our goal is to ensure that they can function safely in their targeted work environment – safely for them, their co-workers, and the employer.  Our documentation requires the patient to respond to questions that are functionally oriented, working to identify potential barriers to the safe performance of their job.  If such barriers are identified, efforts are made to formulate restrictions that facilitate an accommodation process that is reasonable and works for both the employee and employer.   

Program Philosophy

Palomar Corporate Health has maintained the philosophy of encouraging transparency and communication between all parties that have an interest in the injured worker becoming well.  The provision of effective care in the CA WC system begins with effective communication – communication that is enhanced by gathering and documenting thorough medical information from the initiation of the claim onward.    

The above efforts represent our phase I enhancements.   We encourage you to stay tuned for the enhancements planned for phases II, III and beyond.  Moreover, we look forward to discussing these containment tools with you in person at one of our upcoming round table events, a forum we will be utilizing to promote the exchange of ideas to help us all stay abreast of challenging times in a most challenging system. 

 

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