Investigating and Handling Repetitive Use Injuries

Repetitive use injuries account for a significant portion of claims in many workers’ compensation programs. Whilcartoon about Carpal Twitter Syndromee these injuries can occur in any employee, they are becoming more prevalent in the aging American worker force. It is important for claim management teams to investigate properly these claims to reduce the costs of claims.

A Case Study: The Anatomy of Repetitive Use Injuries

Frank Smith is a dedicated employee and has been working at the Acme Widget Company for over 20 years. He has never missed a day of work since starting. During a typical 8-hour shift, he will twist some knobs, pull some levers and walks back and forth along the
widget-making machine. The day after working a longer than normal shift due to high demand for widgets, Frank wakes up and is experiencing numbness and tingling in his arms. He is later diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome with rotator cuff impingement in his shoulders. Are these conditions work-related?

Common Features of Repetitive Use Injuries

The legal definition in every jurisdiction varies on compensability for these injuries. Courts will look at a variety of factors when determining if such conditions are compensable. There are some common aspects across all states workers’ compensation laws: Continue reading Investigating and Handling Repetitive Use Injuries

CDC Wants Public To Understand And Avoid Misuse Of Antibiotics

Not an “Anti Antibiotics” Campaign, Just More Careful UseBy  

Antibiotics are designed for the treatment of bacterial infections. If used in an attempt to combat viral infections, like colds or the flu, the medications do nothing to treat these conditions. In fact, it may harm your bodycartoon about antibiotic resistance’s own immune system by killing off so-called “good” or protective bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants everyone to know that taking antibiotics when they are unwarranted can be harmful.

Antibiotics are drugs that treat only bacterial infections. Viral illnesses and their symptoms cannot and should not be treated with antibiotics.

 

Why should you care? 

Improper use of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistant strains of germs. Resistant germs are stronger, and much more difficult to destroy.

This means that when antibiotics are ultimately needed, it may require more of them, or far more expensive varieties of antibiotics, injections or even hospital-ization in order to combat these resistant strains. These resistant strains are collections of super germs that, formerly, could have readily been handled through conventional antibiotic treatments.

In some cases, antibiotic resistant infections can cause severe illnesses that can no longer be treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics can also upset the body’s natural balance by killing off the protective (good) bacteria. This results in complications like diarrhea, yeast infections and other dangerous infections.

Question…

Can antibiotics be used in an attempt to knock out a runny nose (yellow and/or green mucus)?

Answer…

No.  Here’s why—when colds infect the nose and sinuses, the body produces clear mucus to help to get rid of the germs. When your body sends out an army of biological germ fighters called immune cells to attack the germs in the affected area, the mucus changes to a white or yellow color.

READ FULL STORY HERE

The Evolving Healthcare Model: Impact of ACA on Workers’ Comp

By Safety National 05/13/2015 10:51:00

Affordable Care Act logoConsider the implications to your organization of possible changes in access to care, consolidation of providers and facilities and the use of accountable care organizations. All this is rapidly becoming a reality under the changes to our healthcare system brought on by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). How will this impact your business? What steps can you take to ensure your injured workers have access to the best care? What issues are on the horizon?  This was the subject of a 2015 SIIA Workers Compensation Executive Forum session presented by  Kimberly George, Senior Vice President, Senior Healthcare Advisor with Sedgwick.

Putting politics aside, ACA has resulted in changes to the healthcare delivery model that cannot be undone. There has been significant consolidation of clinics, facilities and provider networks. Things like stand-alone outpatient surgical centers and neighborhood physicians have all but become extinct.  Workers’ compensation needs to respond to the new realities of this healthcare delivery model.

What are the primary Affordable Care Act considerations for workers’ compensation? Many have indicated that cost shifting to workers comp and access to care are the biggest concerns. When you think of access to care, the question becomes will we end up with a tiered medical system where some systems reimburse at higher rates than others. Those who do reimburse at higher rates will have a greater ability to select the providers who deliver superior outcomes and also ensure access to care. Continue reading The Evolving Healthcare Model: Impact of ACA on Workers’ Comp

New Hires Shouldn’t Mean New Injuries

Safety Training yellow caution tapeBy   – You hire new employees with the intention of maintaining or increasing your production and profitability, but definitely not to increase your workplace injuries. Unfortunately, safety in the workplace is often overlooked on the new hire checklist. In fact, 40 percent of injured employees have been on the job less than one year (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). You can reduce your new hire risk and work comp expenses without increasing your business expenses. Let us show you how.

Why so many injuries in the first year on the job? 
There are lots of potential reasons, but some of the most common are that supervisors think new employees already have workplace safety knowledge or their previous experience accounts for any on-the-job learning curve. This way of thinking can be fatally flawed. For example, what if the new employee’s previous employer never did any formal safety training? Perhaps the new employee brings experience with them, but hasn’t worked in this field recently. Combine this with the fact that most new employees are afraid to ask questions, and it is a formula for workplace injuries.

Costly Mistakes
Introducing new faces to your workplace can bring much needed help. But they can also bring increased costs if you’re not careful. In other words, safety training pays in more ways than one.

READ COMPLETE STORY HERE

Wearable M.D.: How Fitness Trackers Can Change Healthcare

By Jill Duffy    May 11, 2015

Activity trackers and other wearable fitness devices are about to change medicine and healthcare as we know it.
Bones, Star Trek, with Tricorder
What if you could buy an over-the-counter genome testing kit, just as you can buy a pregnancy test today, then take it home and know within a matter of minutes whether you’re at risk for cardiac arrest? What if, as a result of taking that test, your doctor prescribed a regimen of diet, exercise, and stress reduction, monitored by your Internet-connected refrigerator, sensor-laden workout clothes, and an fMRI headband that dimmed the lights when it noticed increased brain activity associated with stress? What if you could upload a copy of your brain to a hard drive so that doctors could reinstall your memories if a disease or accident wiped them out?

Today’s fitness trackers, those $99 smart pedometers everyone’s wearing on their wrists and belt loops, are the forefathers of a much more advanced health and wellness system. How we use them and the things we learn are directly influencing how we will think about health 10, 15, and even 50 years from now.

I’ve been testing health and fitness trackers for almost four years. I’ve worn all the ones you’ve heard of (the Fitbits, the Nike+ FuelBand), as well as many you probably haven’t, including a finger sensor that measures heart rate variability and a calf compression sleeve that monitors lactic acid buildup during runs and bicycle rides. Although I’m lucky to be in good shape now (genetics are on my side), I’m also thinking ahead. What if I’m diagnosed with an illness, or worse, something goes wrong with my health that isn’t easy to pinpoint? I have four years’ worth of objective data I can bring to specialists to validate my prior health conditions. All these logs create a detailed snapshot of life from my 30s. Continue reading Wearable M.D.: How Fitness Trackers Can Change Healthcare

What You Need to Know About Personalized Medicine

By Safety National 04/30/2015

Benefits of PGX Testing

PGX testing workflowDue to the potential cost savings, pharmacogenetic testing is expected to become an effective tool for risk managers. Currently, only 50% of patients respond positively to their medications. We are all different, so a uniform way of prescribing is not effective. PGX maps drugs with your unique genetic makeup to increase effectiveness. From a workers’ compensation standpoint, it can help to:

  • Proactively drive the right treatment from the beginning of a claim.
  • Reduce the amount of doctor visits, physician billing frequency and overprescribing.
  • Diminish drug addiction and dependency.
  • Reduce adverse drug reactions – the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Resolve long-tail claims.

This innovative RIMS 2015 session explored a new era of technology emerging in heathcare – personalized medicine. It is expected to revolutionize healthcare and, thus, will become very useful in the workers’ compensation arena.

Speakers included:

  • Geralyn Datz, President, Southern Behavioral Medicine Associates PLLC
  • Sonny Roshan, CEO, Chairman, Aeon Laboratories, LLC
  • Kimberly George, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, M&A, Healthcare, Sedgwick

How it Works

Using a simple, in-office test, genetic testing determines how a patient’s genetic makeup will determine a successful or unsuccessful response to a prescribed medication. Pharmacogenetic testing (PGX) taps into DNA to uncover how a single prescribed medication is metabolized. It is being used to improve and expedite patient care by optimizing or eliminating the typical trial and error process, which can lead to adverse reactions, drug tolerances, addiction or death. PGX is rapidly becoming a standard of care and is considered in line with good clinical practice.

READ FULL STORY HERE

Proactive Identification and Management of Back Claims can Reduce Costs by 33%

Parsippany, NJ (WorkersCompensation.com)

cartoon of man with back ache York Risk Services Group, a leading provider of claims management, managed care and risk control services, today announced new research showing that the combination of sophisticated predictive analytics and early, expert medical assessment significantly reduces both the cost and duration of workers’ compensation back claims.
York calls this approach “TeamComp.”  In the study, which looked at 24 months of TeamComp back claim data:

• The average medical paid decreased 29% from $7,923 to $,5,631,

• The average total paid decreased 33% from $14,301 to $9,605, and

• Lost days decreased 35% from 64 days to 42 days.

The full report is published in the whitepaper “TeamComp Significantly Reduces the Cost and Duration of Back Claims
,” which is available on RiskCentral.com, the risk management information hub from Risk & Insurance Magazine.

“The key to TeamComp’s success is the way we integrate predictive analytic intelligence and medical expertise into the overall claims management process,” explains Doug Markham, President of Managed Care for WellComp, York’s provider of managed care services. Continue reading Proactive Identification and Management of Back Claims can Reduce Costs by 33%