On the job injuries are unfortunate, but will happen. Surprisingly, the greatest monetary
expense incurred when employees are injured on the job is not the health care received,
but the expense of having the employee out of work for an extensive period of time.  
When that injured employee is off from work the employer still needs to continue with
business. Therefore, there is the added, and largest, expense of having to hire someone
to temporarily replace that injured worker, as well as the burden that is imposed on the
rest of the staff add up rapidly.

Extraordinary cost savings can be realized with quality worker’s compensation case
management.  The number one priority should always be to obtain the highest level of
care that is needed to enhance the injured employee’s recovery. The key to cost control
is to selecting and working with a single provider, frequent re-evaluation, and close
communication with the employee and employer who can assist in making sure that the
employee is following the treatment plan. The employer benefits from regular status
reports regarding the diagnosis, expected prognosis and treatment. This allows the
employer to effortlessly monitor the care and track the progress of their injured
employees, which provides a sense of control and assurance over this often-
cumbersome process. Should more specialized services be required, the health
provider should handle the referral process for these services and act as a patient
advocate with the specialist to ensure that the employee’s treatment is focused and

The secret to expediting healing is well known. A large percentage of injuries heal much
quicker and the patient returns back to full duty much more rapidly when employees are
presented with a variety of injury-appropriate, creative back-to-work options. Some
employees may prefer to be off from work, but it is so important that the employee
continues to contribute to the daily working operations no matter if its greeting at the door
to answering the phones. Many times, keeping the employee involved will significantly
shorten the time it takes for them to return to their regular duties. With the “back to work
as soon as medically possible” philosophy, this regimen of treatment and evaluation
translate into a quicker return to work duties.

Should more specialized services be required outside of the clinic, the skilled health
provider will handle the referral process for these services and work closely with the
specialist to ensure that the employee is treated efficiently and effectively.

Research has shown that employers that utilize a quality worker’s compensation case
management for their injured employee closes cases much quicker than those who don’
t.  The structure, communication, and resources provided will play a significant role in
eliminating costs and expediting recoveries.

The dedicated guidance and quality injury-appropriate medical care provided by a skilled
health provider will also promote goodwill between employers and employees.  
Employees want to feel they are being treated fairly and feel valued by their employer,
hence increasing their desire to return to work and accelerating recovery.

Did you know?
4.4 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in 2003, resulting in
a rate of 5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.  These illnesses and injuries are
estimated to cost employers a staggering $1 trillion annually, with workers'
compensation insurance premiums and other related costs running an average of 2-3
percent of payroll.

Originally published in the Salisbury Business Journal, February 2005
By: Kent M. Rilling, PA-C, Operations Director and Provider, Salisbury

Immediate Care & Injury Center, Salisbury, MD