By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse, LLC, the premier nurse triage service for workers’ compensation
What happens when a workplace injury doesn’t get reported to you on time?
Maybe a well-meaning supervisor jumps into action, sending an injured worker to the emergency room for a minor injury. Or, even worse, a worker sustains an injury and doesn’t seek any treatment. The worker’s injury condition is left to worsen and, as such, so is the workers’ comp claim. It may be too late to gather the reliable information you need to investigate the injury and the claim. And it becomes next to impossible to track your workplace’s accidents and thus put measures in place to prevent future injuries from occurring. Your organization is left facing a large claims volume and high costs, as well as possible litigation.
When the right details don’t get to the right people, these problems can spiral out of control. But with an efficient flow of communication, workplace injuries can be properly managed.
Learning from Experience
The above nightmare is exactly what I dealt with when I worked as a consultant, helping employers manage workers’ compensation costs and claims.
To manage these claims, I needed to be immediately notified of workplace injuries and know exactly what happened. But without an effective communication system, I found myself left out of the loop. As you know, it’s difficult to manage claims that aren’t reported to you.
What I needed was a flow of communication initiated instantly after a workplace injury occurred. A flow of communication that provided me and all stakeholders access to injury data.
So, what would encourage employees to report their injuries in a timely manner to start these communications? How about being able to speak to medical professionals who could make sure that they got the care they needed? Triage nurses.
That’s why I started Company Nurse. To initiate the communication of vital information to all stakeholders, immediately after an injury occurs.
So now ask yourself, what happens when workplace injuries get reported right away? Each stakeholder is properly informed to effectively contribute to their workplace’s injury management, saving your organization from costs and claims. Here’s how:
When workers sustain injuries that require more than just self-care treatment, triage nurses refer them to medical facilities. Using a validated and verified database, nurses have all the information they need to ensure these medical providers are appropriate for referrals, depending on type of injury and time of day. This provider assurance is not available from any other nurse triage service, even though the information is vital in getting injured workers the most appropriate treatment.
After workers are referred to medical providers, the nurses let these facilities know all the information they need: whom to expect and when, the details of the injuries, the workers’ backgrounds, and their workers’ comp insurance information. Which means the facilities can efficiently treat each injured worker and make sure they are getting the right care.
In turn, medical facilities know where to send their findings and their bills!
Employers will see within minutes which of their injured employees needed to go to a medical facility for workplace injuries and how severe these injuries were. They can also verify that the information was sent to their workers’ comp insurance. And, if channeling is allowed, they can verify that their employees did indeed seek treatment at an employer-approved facility.
Supervisors are informed which of their team members have injuries that required treatment from a medical professional and if these injuries have any work restrictions. They can properly assign tasks to their team to ensure they do not worsen any of their team members’ conditions (and workers’ comp claims).
Stakeholders not only receive information after injured workers seek treatment at medical facilities, but immediately after workers report their injuries to a triage nurse.
Right away, employers can see what happened during each injury incident. Did the employee refuse to seek further medical treatment even though it was recommended by the triage nurse? Or, perhaps, the injured worker indicated that they will go to an appropriate medical facility immediately after their conversation with the nurse.
Armed with this information, as well as the reports from medical facilities, employers can more effectively address each workplace injury. In addition, they can use this data to keep track of each injury and put safety measures in place to protect employees from similar incidents.
This flow of communication provides supervisors the information they need to handle their own team members’ injuries.
Supervisors can keep track of who was injured, what happened, when their injured workers can return to work, and, as mentioned, if any workers have work restrictions. They may also have an assignment from their employer to put measures in place to prevent other workers from sustaining similar injuries.
This allows your supervisors to make well-informed decisions to run their team and ensures your workers feel cared for, even after they receive medical treatment.
Claims Managers/ Adjusters/ TPAs
And the communication doesn’t stop there; claims managers and adjusters, as well as TPAs, have all the information they need from these reports and data to proceed with claims and investigations.
These stakeholders will be able to understand the full picture of each injury incident. They’ll know what happened, when and where the injury occurred, if there were any witnesses, if the employee sought further medical treatment, and more, allowing them to promptly and properly proceed with the claim, pay benefits, and initiate return-to-work efforts.
Yes, with nurse triage, your organization will be able to initiate a flow of communication, allowing all stakeholders to get the information they need to contribute to successful workplace injury management. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.