A Guide to Diagnostic & Treatment Excellence for Work Comp Professionals
If you are a case manager, insurer, employer, adjuster, risk manager, safety specialist, injury attorney or other professional who deals with workers’ compensation claims, then you know work-related injuries require timely, appropriate medical intervention. Prompt, effective treatment from an experienced physician provider is key to avoiding permanent damage and loss of function – and getting the patient to work as safely and quickly as possible.
Not all providers and physician practices are alike, however, and it’s important to choose providers who will meet not only patient needs, but your needs as well. Below, we list five important factors to consider when choosing a physician for work comp cases.
1. How quickly can new patients be seen by an experienced physician?
To ensure patients receive expeditious care, ask if the provider or practice can assure you that all new, non-urgent cases will be scheduled within one week (sooner for serious/urgent issues). If they cannot offer that assurance – or if they make the promise but don’t follow through – keep looking for a more responsive partner elsewhere.
2. How quickly will the provider respond to your inquiries and documentation needs?
The ideal workers’ compensation provider understands that you need prompt, reliable service just as much as the patient – and they will employ dedicated workers’ compensation coordinators to assist you at every step. If they cannot regularly respond to your inquiries within 24 hours during the work week – or return IME documentation within 2-4 weeks of the initial visit – they are not the ideal partner for you or the patient.
3. Do the physicians have the right expertise to determine if the injury is actually work-related and create a comprehensive treatment plan aimed at returning the patient to work?
Making such a determination requires expertise in examining several factors, such as the patient history, clinical findings, specific use of that body part during work, pre-existing disease processes or prior surgeries at the site of injury, and more. It’s a detailed, multifactorial process that hinges on experience specific to workplace injuries.
Knowing what a person must do to return to work is critical, which means job demands can and should influence physician recommendations in work comp cases. Look for providers who can demonstrate the ability to make those determinations accurately for more personalized, outcomes-focused care. Also, a good provider will not prolong care unnecessarily. Timely decision-making and a mindset of continually moving claims processes forward are attributes to look for and expect from your provider.
4. Do the physicians have the right expertise to support all of your evidentiary and administrative needs?
Some doctors provide second opinions. Some provide independent medical exams, and some provide ratings – but not every doctor provides all three. Look for provider partners who can meet your full scope of documentation and administrative needs, including medical legal services. The more the practice/provider can meet all your needs and all patient needs in one place, the better.
5. What types of treatment options are available through the physician practice and/or its affiliated locations?
Partnering with a physician group that offers comprehensive services within its medical specialty is one of the best ways to ensure patient compliance for optimal care and outcomes. Whenever possible, avoid choosing a practice to start a case if they most likely won’t be able to see the entire care plan through without referring to another physician group. For example, if it’s an orthopedic practice, can they offer expert evaluation and comprehensive treatment options for all minor and complex orthopedic injuries, including imaging or electrodiagnosis, surgery (minor or major; robotic or conventional), physical medicine and rehabilitation, injection and regenerative therapies, or any other type of diagnostic and treatment procedures? If the answer is no, keep looking for a partner who can.
At Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics, we know you have choices when it comes to workers’ compensation providers, so we offer an unrivaled level of service excellence to ensure we always meet your needs. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians and dedicated workers’ compensation coordinators manage every case with prompt, specialized care. For years we have proudly sponsored local and state workers’ compensation associations, and this year, we will provide several educational opportunities for work comp professionals. We share your goal of returning all patients to work quickly and safely, and we collaborate with you to provide the best care available based on the unique circumstances of each case.
To learn more, refer a case or request assistance, contact our workers’ compensation coordinators:
About Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics
Since 1923, Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics has provided high-quality orthopedic care. Our patient care team includes board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and physiatrists, as well as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, durable medical equipment specialists and more. With two convenient locations in Leawood and Kansas City, Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics offers surgical and non-surgical treatment options across all subspecialties of orthopedic medicine.
The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.
Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing hand and wrist diseases, injuries, or other related problems. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.