Telephonic Triage for Workers Comp
Is Telephonic Triage in WC really worth it in most instances? I had a great conversation with an old Workers Comp friend that had begun to sell triage service by phone for claims. As he mentioned, safety measures occur up to the time of an accident. Workers Comp triage can come into play a few seconds after an injury.
BTW, my definition of Workers Comp phone triage is having a nurse become involved telephonically immediately after the occurrence of an accident. Triage by a nurse can also be in-person. A plant nurse is a great example. However, if an employer is not large enough or the profit margins are too close, phone triage for Workers Comp may be a great option.
Telephonic triage can actually cut the reportable incident rate as certain injuries that can be self-treated may not require a work stoppage or a doctor visit. In most cases, a first report of injury may not necessarily need to be filed. You may want to check with your insurance carrier or TPA before deciding what constitutes a reportable injury.
I actually established a small phone triage nurse case management department a few years ago for state employees. It worked well. Controlling the medical will always reduce Workers Comp costs. Check out the keys to workers comp reduction from one of my old blog posts.
In this economy, the one area that I would say is a negative is the upfront cost. Convincing senior level management may be tough as the cost savings will not be realized for months to come as your E-Mod or for self insureds – the Loss Development Factor is a lagging system. As I pointed out in this blog post, Workers Comp results are delayed for sometimes up to three years.
A telephonic nurse company was doing a great business in the southeast 10 years ago. It is no longer in business. The main reason was its competition. There were almost no competing companies in the area. Convincing carriers, employers, and TPA’s of a new type of service is a very tough service to sell for an extended period.
My overall answer is a definite yes for telephonic triage as it enhances the immediacy of responding to an injured employee’s claim very quickly. As with any service, there are companies that perform at a higher level than others. I rarely make company recommendations on this blog.
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