Tag Archives: workers compensation

Practical Tips for Implementing Urine Drug Testing

July 2, 2018 by 

urine testing kit for article, Practical Tips for Implementing Urine Drug TestingIdentifying and intervening with at-risk injured workers can save payers a bundle in workers compensation costs. These are the so-called “creeping catastrophic’ claims; the seemingly minor injuries expected to resolve within weeks that go south and before you know it, have been on the books for months or longer. They typically involve a variety of expensive medical procedures and medications, all of which are unsuccessful in alleviating the person’s pain.

This small fraction of workers’ compensation claims encompasses a majority of costs for payers. In recent years, the industry has done a better job of red-flagging these claimants earlier in the process. But an oft-overlooked tool to help is urine drug testing.

Urine Drug Testing helps physicians whether the patient is compliant with prescribed medications and/or using non-prescriber or illicit drugs.

But UDT has been ignored in many cases or overused in others. Using UDT judiciously can be a tremendous help.

The Stats

Recent research shows fewer than half the injured workers prescribed opioids received UDT – 17 percent to 50 percent. However, it also showed that of the top 5 percent of claims, UDT was conducted in 7 out of 10 physician visits.

Guidelines from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Official Disability Guidelines and the Washington State Interagency vary regarding UDT frequency recommendation. But they all call for UDT at baseline when opioids are initially prescribed, then at various times throughout the year based on the injured worker’s risk stratification. Those at low risk may only need UDT every six months to annually; while high-risk claimants might need to be tested monthly.

The testing provides objective information to support improved clinical decision making, and helps medical providers:


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?


Using Job Descriptions to Control Workers Compensation Losses

September 10, 2015 by Michael B. Stack

job description cartoonComplete job descriptions, with proper compliance can help reduce workers compensation loss values.

They can be used both as preventative measure and as a tool to reduce a claim exposure.  Job descriptions that are stated clearly, as well as describe all duties and functions, will bring the most desired results.

Preventative Uses:

  • Job descriptions can be used for pre-employment physical examinations, which can eliminate the physically unqualified who might have an on the job injury.
  • Employment interviewers, using the job description, will be able to screen potential employees.
  • To recognize persons who might violate the job provisions.
  • They should be able to determine persons who can misunderstand functions.
  • Through personnel tests geared to job duties interviewers might be able to discern people with attitude issues.
  • Testing may uncover problems for ability to train, or fail to meet provisions in the job description.

Uses after a loss are presented:

FREE Stuff to Assist You in Controlling WC Costs

No strings attached. We’re just passing this along from those helpful folks at WorkersCompensation.com.

Free materials to help control your workers' comp costsThey are promoting their new Workers Comp “help club,” called COMPClub, and it certainly looks worth while (for a big $29/month). This is a reputable and well-regarded organization with a long history in the workers’ comp field.

FREE Workers’ Comp Cost Containment Gifts

Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers’ Comp Costs – Mini Book

The Mini-Book is 20 pages, with each page summarizing a corresponding chapter of our comprehensive book. This booklet is in OUTLINE format, thus perfect for training programs and as a seminar follow-along handout. This booklet can be used as a stand-alone for training or promotions, or in conjunction with the
Comprehensive Guidebook.

10 Customized Get Well Cards

Get Well Cards are part of a positive, proactive communication strategy. As part of a comprehensive workers compensation program, employers should maintain close communications with injured employees to ensure they recover quickly, do not drop out of the workforce and and return to work rapidly.

Customize the Get Well Cards with your Logo and a special message below.

5 Workers’ Comp Cost Containment Articles

Download the Word documents along with a license to use the content of 5 popular articles from the Workers’ Comp Roundup blog.

  • 6 Work Comp Mistakes Employers Make
  • An Employer  Road Map For Work Comp Claim Management
  • Different Strategies for Return to Work
  • Fighting Fraud with a Special Investigation Unit
  • How to Communicate with Your Adjuster

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

“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” Free Webinar Series Promises Cutting-Edge Workers’ Compensation-Related Content


Photo of Kimberly George and Mark WallsKimberly George and Mark Walls announced today that they will join forces to host a regular, complimentary webinar series and interactive forum called “Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark.” The series – sponsored by Sedgwick and Safety National – will be dedicated to covering important workers’ compensation-related topics that are not receiving enough attention in the industry.

“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” will provide a unique alternative to the traditional webinar format by including a mix of communication methods, such as podcasts and live interviews from industry events. The approach will be to collaborate on meaningful topics that are not discussed openly in the industry or, in some cases, not at all.

“As our industry finds new ways to collaborate and seeks new solutions to current issues, Kimberly and Mark are leading the way by provoking honest, inclusive debate as they work to engage and inform through this new series,” said David A. North, president and CEO of Sedgwick.

Both well-known experts and advocates in their fields, George and Walls plan to explore the perspectives of risk managers, brokers, third-party administrators, human resources professionals, carriers and other industry stakeholders. The goal of the series is to bring in a variety of experts to provide input from each thought-provoking angle to initiate or advance conversations.

“As an industry leader, we support efforts like this that encourage discussion on emerging trends and needs in the workers’ compensation arena,” added Mark Wilhelm, CEO of Safety National. “Kimberly and Mark are both very passionate about this industry and we know that the audience will benefit greatly from their work on this series.”

“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” will launch with its first webinar on the advantages of unbundled claims handling scheduled for March 31, 2015. Visit www.OutFrontIdeas.com for more information.


Workers’ Comp Leaders to Host First-Ever Industry Twitter Chat

illustration of Twitter discussionInteractive social media event will focus on industry hot topics

Top media experts in workers’ compensation will  join subject matter experts from GENEX Services LLC, one of the nation’s largest providers of managed care services, to participate in the first-ever Twitter Chat on workers’ compensation on Feb. 10, 2 p.m. EST.

By following the hashtag #workcompchat, Twitter users will be able to learn from and converse with industry leaders on topics ranging from managing complex claims to regulatory issues. The chat will be moderated by GENEX (@genexservices) and will include a panel of popular industry writers, bloggers and subject matter experts including:

Roberto Ceniceros, Risk & Insurance@rceniceros
Bob Wilson,WorkersCompensation.com;  @wcconnections
Mark Walls, LinkedIn’s Work Comp Analysis Group;  @wcanalysisgroup
Stephen Sullivan, WorkCompWire ; @work_comp_wire
Ron Skrocki, GENEX Services@skrockiron
Melinda Hayes, GENEX Services@melindahayes_ Continue reading Workers’ Comp Leaders to Host First-Ever Industry Twitter Chat

Why Hold Weekly Meetings With Injured Employees?

 October 3, 2013 by Michael B. Stack
illustration of employees meeting with profit graph arrowEvery injured employee on transitional duty should meet WEEKLY with the Transitional Duty (TD) Coordinator, if your company has one, or the supervisor in charge the injured worker’s return to work. There are many benefits to weekly meetings. Among them are:
It keeps employees in the loop at the workplace.

This keeps them mentally engaged in your workplace, and thus more likely to fully recover and return to work. It also keeps the employee socially connected to theirco-workers and supervisors. Employees who feel valued, important and supported are more likely to want to return to work quicker.

It gives employers the opportunity to determine increased capacity for transitional duty assignments.

These meetings help determine if increasing strength or capability is possible to allow the employee to assume additional job tasks. There should be a gradually increasing capacity. The employee should bring any recent medical information to the meeting. This should include any changes in medications, work restrictions and recommendations. It is good to vary the time of the meeting each week to see if the employee’s work capacity varies at different times of the day or week. For employees who cannot attend on site meetings, you might discuss options for a field-based nurse case manager to visit the employees.

It lets employees bring up any obstacles to returning to work.

Sometimes there may be simple reasonable accommodations that an employer can provide, such as an ergonomic chair or keyboard, that can help an employeereturn to work quicker. However, unless the employer knows about the difficulties the employee has, the employer will not be able to address these needs. You canfind a vendor that provides off-site employment temporarily for employees who are unable to travel or for any other reason cannot come back to a transitional duty position in your facility.


Is Your Comp Medical Provider Brochure Complete?

Questions like these are probably keeping you awake at night.


cover of Workers' Comp Medical Provider brochureIf it seems like there is a never-ending trail of paperwork and computer files to go over, that is likely the case.

One of the many facets of running a business is looking out for your employees, especially there physical well-being. It is almost a given that some of them will suffer some sort of injury while under your employ. As a result, it is critical that you have plans in place to quickly and effectively treat them.

With that in mind, it is more than a good idea that you have in place a brochure for the doctors and clinics that will ultimately care for your injured workers.

Make sure these 10 items are part of the brochure:

  1. Company description – This can be brief, but should be an overview of what your business does;
  2. Company location – In the event the company is nearby, it doesn’t hurt to encourage provider visits;
  3. Company job descriptions – This is where you want to explain the original work that was undertaken;
  4. Company description for transitional duty program – In this arena, be sure to include the purpose behind and importance to your business;
  5. Company necessity for medical limitations/abilities on initial visit – Keep in mind that this is very important so that the claim does not turn into a lost-time claim;
  6. Company sample transitional duty job descriptions – Here is where you describe possible modifications and alternative positions as examples. Make sure you are clear to customize positions to fit whatever restrictions are in place;


Construction Fatalities Cost California Residents $2.9 Billion

new construction collapse

February 4, 2013 By Michael B. Stack

168 Construction Workers Killed in Workplace Accidents

Occupational injuries and fatalities in the construction industry cost California residents $2.9 billion between 2008 and 2010, a new Public Citizen report shows. Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

The report, “The Price of Inaction: A Comprehensive Look at the Costs of Injuries and Fatalities in California’s Construction Industry,” quantifies the estimated costs of deaths and injuries in the state’s construction industry by considering an array of factors.

From 2008 to 2010, 168 construction workers were killed in workplace accidents in California. Additionally, the state recorded 50,700 construction-industry injuries and illnesses that required days away from work or a job transfer.

Drawing on a comprehensive 2004 journal article that analyzed the cost of occupational injuries, and combining the paper’s findings with updated fatality and injury data, the group determined that such incidents cost the state’s economy $2.9 billion during the three-year period.

Report Proposes Safety Required for State Contracts

As a partial solution, the report proposes that California pass a law requiring companies to demonstrate adherence to safety standards in order to be eligible to bid for state contracts. Such a solution not only would ensure that public-sector projects are fulfilled by responsible contractors but also would provide incentives for companies to maintain clean records while working on private-sector sites.
Continue reading Construction Fatalities Cost California Residents $2.9 Billion