If applying for a new job, an applicant should investigate the benefits and become familiar with the package. When reading through a contract, see if the company offers workers’ compensation benefits if a worker gets hurt on the job. Not all companies offer workers’ compensation, but most labor-intensive jobs such as construction workers, mechanics, machinists, union workers, etc., do. In this week’s blog, we will discuss what workers’ compensation is and explain what we can do to help.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of the job. This allows the employer to continue paying the injured employee while off duty. In some circumstances, an injured employee can return to work, but if the work injury prevents the employee from earning pre-injury wages the individual may be entitled to a benefit that makes up two-thirds of the difference. A worker may also return to work on light or alternate duty before fully healed.
In some circumstances, an employer or insurance company may not agree that an injury is work related. If this happens, a workers’ compensation law determines whether an injury is work related or not. In the meantime, if an injured employee is not receiving benefits because the employer or insurance company disputes the work injury is not work related, the worker may be eligible for disability benefits until the case is settled. If the judge determines that an injury is work related, the insurance company must start paying claims to the injured employee.
What Can We Do to Help?
Those who provide workers’ compensation to their workers set up a panel that employees choose from based on their needs. What this means is that when a worker first becomes injured on the job, some employers require the worker to use one of the medical doctors listed on their panel. After a predetermined period of time, if treatment fails to progress, employers will allow injured workers to seek a provider of their choice. In other cases, some employers may allow employees to do this from the beginning.
At our office, we happily accept and encourage workers’ compensation claims. We believe that chiropractic is the best route for workers’ compensation injuries because we can repair the strained nervous system that occurred during the injury. Medical doctors may only provide medication or an injection that temporarily numbs the problem rather than fixing the problem.
During the first visit, a consultation between the patient and doctor creates an opportunity for the doctor to learn everything necessary about the case and to determine the appropriate examination and x-rays that need to be performed. An examination is required for a patient to be treated as a workers’ compensation case.
Unlike auto claims, we don’t have to go through extensive paperwork about the work injury itself because the co-providing medical doctor will have that on file. We treat our workers’ compensation patients the same as we would any patient. Mild cases may only need chiropractic care, whereas more severe cases may require non-surgical spinal decompression. We will be able to determine the right course of treatment based upon the examination and x-ray results. Workers’ compensation treatment plans may require a longer course of treatment to be longer than other patients because of the traumatic injury.
A good question that patients tend to ask is how many visits will workers’ compensation cover? It all depends on the insurance company and the injury involved. Some insurance companies pay for an established number of visits, while other insurance companies’ base payment upon patient progress. Insurance companies ask that an updated exam and treatment plan be revised each month along with daily progress notes. They then will determine if a case has been resolved or not.
Another great question that patients ask is what are they limited to doing at home? A chiropractor’s job is to remove nerve interference and improve activities of daily living. In a workers’ compensation case, a patient needs to be careful not to perform unapproved activities. It is not out of the question for an undercover investigator to appear at the home to make sure the employer is following protocols.
For example: You are off work due to a work injury. It’s a hot summer day and the grass needs cut. The next day, your boss calls you and asks you to report to work. You go into the office and your boss presents you with pictures of you cutting your grass. You are fired and must find a new job with unresolved pain.
In conclusion, it is best to stay away from doing any sort of work when recovering from a workers’ compensation injury.
For more information or questions about workers’ compensation and the entire process, please call us at (724) 547-3377 and checkout our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more content.
Yours In Health,
Larry E. Wilkins, DC
Brian M. Steinert, DC