Claims Management 101—Using a Preferred Medical Provider
The vast majority of employers I have worked with over the years have written an employee health and safety program that is generally specific to their operations. Unfortunately, there are many times that an important piece is missing.
That piece involves managing an injury, or as some call it “claims management,” and without this their employee health and safety program is incomplete. Accordingly, I thought it prudent to begin an overview of why claims management is important and how to go about it.
To say that both the employer and employee will typically do whatever it takes to avoid an injury is an understatement. Unfortunately, in this not so perfect world – sprains, strains, lacerations, etc.—do occur in the workplace. The two main reasons to develop a formal claims management process are moral and financial in nature:
- Seeking treatment and getting the injured person back to full health is the morally correct course of action.
- In regards to the financial impact of a workplace injury, medical treatment can save—or cost—an organization a huge amount of money. The outcome usually depends on whether the worker quickly returns for transitional or “light” duty or if they are out of work for an extended period of time. The latter scenario usually happens because the treating physician knows little to nothing about the employer.
One thing is for sure, once an accident happens, dollars, time spent and other resources are inevitably going to add up. Having a contingency plan that involves a “company doctor” or preferred medical provider (often referred to as a PMP) is a proven way to get the employee back to work while minimizing the financial costs that go along with a long-term, lost-time injury.
When employers are first introduced to the concept of having a company doctor, many initially view it as a time and resource burden they can not afford. The truth is it's actually quite the opposite. Finding a preferred medical provider requires only a phone book or an Internet search. MEMIC provides a web-based search for medical providers under the “Find a Medical Provider” link on www.memic.com.
Establishing a relationship with a preferred medical provider can be done easily over the phone. Typically connected to an occupational health clinic, these providers specialize in working with employers and injured workers for the benefit of both. The bottom line is that a little time spent upfront can have a big impact on how the claim plays out. And with a professional in your corner, the odds of minimizing costs—while getting a worker back to full health—is increased many times over.
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