Ohio employers are faced with some difficult tasks when it comes to their Ohio workers’ compensation programs, especially when it comes to getting an injured worker back to work. Studies show that the longer an injured employee is off work, the more difficult it is for them to return to work. That is why early intervention is so crucial. Not to mention the impact lost days has on a business’s premiums and production.
Here are some tools to help with getting an injured employee back to work:
When your company experiences a workplace injury, you can’t communicate too early or too often about it. Early communication with all relevant parties leads to early intervention by the experts. Communicating immediately and frequently with your Managed Care Organization (MCO) and any appropriate parties allows your MCO to begin managing the injury and strategize how to minimize lost days.
Often times, we think that a person must return to work to their exact same position. That’s not always the case. There are many options available to employers and if we can brainstorm together we can typically come up with good alternatives. For example, one injured employee who worked for a construction company suffered a shoulder injury. He was not able to return to his same position right away. However, the employer worked with their MCO, the Treating Physician and the therapists to develop a modified duty position for this employee. He was responsible for sweeping up the shop, which also served as therapy for his injured shoulder. Not only was he working and being productive, his duties were also therapeutic in nature.
A key component that helped make this scenario successful was that the MCO had the job description of the injured worker, as well as other job descriptions for the company. Many times, there are duties from other positions that can be incorporated into a modified duty position. Your MCO may be able to discuss a hybrid approach with the treating physician where the injured employee would perform some of his/her regular job duties as well as duties from other positions. Job descriptions are an essential tool in the development of a modified duty position.
Working with you MCO experts to develop a modified duty position will not only help shave those lost days from your workers’ compensation experience, it will also help keep your premiums low. Lost time claims are the most expensive claims for employers. Reducing lost days or keeping them to a minimum will have a direct impact on claims cost.
Utilize the Programs Available
In Ohio, there are many programs available to employers to facilitate return to work for injured employees. Your MCO can assist you with these programs, such as:
- Creating a modified duty position.
- Developing and implementing a Transitional Work Program.
- Utilizing a Non-Profit Organization for return to work when you are unable to accommodate restrictions.
- Vocational Rehabilitation especially when the injured employee is unable to return to their normal position.
Lost time/days is the one factor that has the most impact on Ohio workers’ compensation premiums. Therefore, it is essential that all the tools and strategies available are used as quickly and as often as possible.