Diversity Training: How to Handle LGBTQ Issues with Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural competency has gained a stronger foothold in health care over the past decade. Still, while strategies to provide care without bias have helped reduce disparities among minority populations, the same can’t be said for those in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community.

graphic for article, Diversity Training: How to Handle LGBTQ Issues with Cultural SensitivityLack of trust between patient and provider can have a significant impact in workers’ comp. Statistics from the Institute of Medicine and the Kaiser Family Foundation show that LGBTQ individuals are more likely to delay or not seek the medical treatment they need because of the discrimination they’ve experienced in the past.

To compound matters, some states offer little legal confidentiality protection for this population. While patient confidentiality is universally governed by HIPAA, this isn’t the case in workers’ comp which is exempt from this privacy law. This may cause gay or transgender individuals to not disclose their sexual orientation to a medical professional because for fear it could get back to their employer and open them up to more discrimination.

If they’re already facing some discrimination from coworkers or their peers, it’s going to decrease their productivity, job satisfaction, motivation to go back to work. What can we do to give these individuals the support they need and help them return-to-work safely and efficiently?

GenexYou can find some solutions from this recent interview, Treating LGBTQ Injured Workers: Gaining Cultural Competence, Building Trust.

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A ‘sweet spot’ BMI to reduce heart disease risk?

Joy Victory is Deputy Managing Editor of HealthNewsReview.org. She tweets at @thejoyvictory.

An extremely brief New York Times “Well” post published last week — “A ‘Sweet Spot’ for Heart Health” — suggests that people must be within a very narrow weight range–a body-mass index (BMI) of 21 to 23–if they want to reduce their risk of heart disease as much as possible.

infographic for article, A ‘sweet spot’ BMI to reduce heart disease risk? What you need to knowThe Times’ article reports on a prospective study of nearly 300,000 middle-aged British men and women, followed for about five years, who had their relative body fat measured by five methods: body-mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, and body fat percentage.

The British study adds to a growing body of research that shows that the so-called “obesity paradox” — the notion that a slightly higher than “normal” BMI may reduce mortality — may not really exist. Such was the case with this study: Increasing BMI was associated with an increased risk for heart disease, as well as with the other measurements for measuring body fat.

And there was no BMI “sweet spot,” so to speak. Overall–after researchers controlled for things like smoking and coexisting health conditions–the less people weighed, the less likely they were to develop heart disease.

But the Times’ article doesn’t provide this context and instead implies that people must be within a narrow BMI range–not too low, and not too high. It also doesn’t explain that the BMI is an imperfect tool and shouldn’t be used in isolation: Very fit athletes, for example, can have a high BMI that places them in the “overweight” category.

Nor is it mentioned that this kind of research, known as a prospective cohort study, is not designed to prove that obesity — or even fat itself — causes cardiovascular disease. All the variables that likely contribute to heart disease cannot be fully accounted for in this kind of study design.


Reducing Work Comp Costs through Creative Return-To-Work

There is a benefit to every workers’ compensation program when an employee returns to work following a work injury.  This is true even in instances where the employee returns to work in a “light duty” capacity.

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Creating an effective return to work takes an investment by all interested stakeholders.  It also requires creativity and a willingness to keep employees within the workplace.  In the long run, it also reduces program costs and promotes a better work environment.

Understanding the Benefits of Light Duty Work

Engaging injured workers in light duty work creates a win-win situation for all interested stakeholders.  This includes the following:

  • Employees: A person staying at home following a work injury incurs many psychological barriers.  It not only takes the employee out of their natural schedule, but it creates isolation and boredom.  Countless studies show that employees working in a modified capacity following an injury have better outcomes and a quicker recovery.
  • Employers: Interested stakeholders who own and operate a company can create a positive work environment by offering light duty work options.  It allows the employer to demonstrate a willingness to keep employees working and increases workplace morale.  It also allows them to complete necessary tasks that might otherwise not get resolved promptly.[READ REST OF STORY HERE]

WCRI Conference to Highlight Trends, Solutions to Opioid Dependence in WC Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com Blog – Work Comp Roundup http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/blog/#ixzz5ADUnw98M Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

March 19, 2018 by 

“We find extensive opioid prescribing leads to longer duration of temporary disability. When we compare the effect of longer-term opioid prescriptions with no opioid prescriptions, the effect is to triple the duration of temporary disability benefits.”

chart of top 10 WC cost drivers for article, WCRI Conference to Highlight Trends, Solutions to Opioid Dependence in WC  Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com WCRI Conference to Highlight Trends, Solutions to Opioid Dependence in WC http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2018/03/wcri-conference-highlight-trends-solutions-opioid-dependence-wc/#ixzz5ADXykgVK  Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.  Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No DerivativesThat finding from the Workers Compensation Research Institute highlights the latest trends in the opioid epidemic as it relates to the workers’ compensation industry. It represents the first evidence of a causal relationship between long-term opioid use and disability duration. The authors will be on hand to delve into the research and the topic during WCRI’s Annual Issues and Research Conference in Boston this month.

Latest Evidence

The WCRI researchers looked at data from 28 states for low back pain injuries between 2008 and 2013 where workers had more than 7 days of lost work time. Additional findings were:

Local prescribing patterns play a significant role in whether injured workers receive opioid prescriptions. In certain states and particular areas within states, injured workers are more likely to receive opioid prescriptions than in other areas. When they compared injured workers with the same injuries in different areas, they found that a 10 percentage point increase in the local rate of longer-term opioid prescribing was associated with a 2.6 percentage point higher likelihood that a similarly injured worker would receive longer-term opioid prescriptions.

Opioid prescriptions persist, despite recommendations against them. While most medical guidelines do not typically recommend prescribing of long-term opioids for low back pain, about 12 percent of WCRI’s sample had them prescribed, and about 39 percent of workers had at least three opioid prescriptions.


11 Ways Supervisors Can Enhance Your Workers’ Compensation Program

Supervisors are critically important to the effectiveness of your injury management program. They are often the first person on the scene of a workplace accident and may know the injured worker better than anyone else in the organization. They set the tone for how well the injured worker responds and engages in the recovery process.

Employees in charge of other workers who view their role in the workers’ compensation process as just an annoyance do a disservice to injured workers and the organization. Employers should take steps to ensure supervisors appreciate the value of the workers’ compensatioin case of workplace injury poster for article, 11 Ways Supervisors Can Enhance Your Workers’ Compensation Programn program and have a thorough understanding of how they can positively contribute to it.


Injury Response

While some organizations have detailed step-by-step plans in place for handling workplace injuries, many don’t; or even if they do, most employees are typically not well versed in the protocol. That’s why it is imperative to continually train supervisors on all the various aspects of the workers’ compensation system and how they fit into it.

For example, if one of your workers went to his supervisor after sustaining an injury, how would the supervisor respond? Would he know, or have a list of steps to follow, a medical provider to treat the worker, if needed? Would he know to address the worker’s medical needs first?

Here are some of the initial procedures supervisors should have down pat:

  • Get injured worker medical attention. First and foremost, make sure the worker gets medical attention if needed. If so,

Where to go

  • How to get the worker there; i.e., should he drive himself, and, if not, who should drive him
  • What, if anything to take with him
  1. Communicate appropriately. Extensive research has been done on the impact of a supervisor’s language and tone toward an injured worker. Questioning the truthfulness of the worker, for example, can have a dramatic impact on outcomes. Negativity threatens the worker and research has shown the odds are there will be twice as many days out of work than if there is a positive response from the supervisor.
  2. Whom to contact. Is there a department/person/number the organization has for reporting injuries? For example, is there a nurse triage system in place?


Blue Shield of California Commits to Work with Providers to Bring Health Care into the Digital Age

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blue Shield of California today announced an important step to bring health care into the digital age. Beginning this year, it will require network providers, including those participating in the nonprofit health plan’s nationally recognized Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, to agree to participate in Manifest MedEx, the largest nonprofit health information network that is creating comprehensive, real-time digital health records for all Californians.

Blue Shield logo for article, Blue Shield of California Commits to Work with Providers to Bring Health Care into the Digital AgeManifest MedEx facilitates the secure exchange of 11 million patient claims records and 5 million patient clinical records for over 200 participating partners. Manifest MedEx supports physicians, nurses, hospitals and health plans in sharing critical health information to ensure that patients receive safe, high-quality care.

Blue Shield’s decision aligns with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ announcement today that outlines steps to increase the interoperability, portability and availability of medical data. These efforts should empower patients, improve care and lower health care costs.

“Manifest MedEx delivers real-time, comprehensive health care data to providers and payers on a secure, open platform. It is a crucial prerequisite to transforming our fragmented health care system,” said Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California’s president and CEO. “This is part of our commitment to provide health care that is worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable. We encourage others to get on board.”

“Providers have made enormous investments in technology and infrastructure,” Markovich added. “These investments will be even more valuable when the data they collect is shared and combined with other health information to create a comprehensive patient record that helps improve the quality of care.”

Blue Shield is asking its ACO providers to sign a participation agreement with Manifest MedEx by Aug. 31, 2018 and other network providers to do so as a part of their next contract renewal. It plans to work closely with all its providers to complete the implementation in the optimal time and manner.

“Manifest MedEx delivers the information that helps hospitals, medical groups and ACOs do the hard work of improving care coordination, reducing inefficiencies, addressing gaps in care and enhancing the patient experience,” said Claudia Williams, CEO of Manifest MedEx. “Manifest MedEx gets you the information you need, in the formats you need, when you need it. We break down silos, so California providers can focus on what they do best: improving health care, not assembling data.”

Created through collaboration among California’s leading providers and health plans, Manifest MedEx makes it easier for doctors, hospitals and other care providers to securely review, analyze and share medical information across the health care system.