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Physical Therapists – Seen Most Often By Injured Workers


Physical Therapists – The Medical Provider Seen Most Often

Physical therapists see injured workers more than any other medical provider.

This was a question that a client emailed to me earlier in the week.

Picture of Physical Therapists with Injured Workers
Wikimedia Commons – Airman 1st Class Alystria Maurer

What medical provider does the injured worker see more in a WC claim? The answer was not so obvious at first until I reviewed an old WC, then the answer became obvious.  The most popular medical provider on most claims is, of course, the physical therapist.

Many claims do have the element of physical therapy.

The claim where the employee is out of work longer almost always involves PT.   Have you looked at the PT’s that your employees are seeing?  If not, this is an area that is often overlooked even if an employer has a  full medical network or panel.

The PT can affect the claim very heavily.   Now that I think back into my career when the PT heads south on the insurance carrier/TPA/employer, the claim will usually tank.   I am not saying that there are very many PTs in the WC marketplace where this occurs overall.

Most PT and Occupational Therapists are encouraging people.

The personalities of the PT and the injured worker, adjuster, or physician may clash.  This usually results in a much more expensive claim.

Justifying a medical provider of any type by “being in-network” as a savings tool  (usually 15%)is great.  However, if the savings will seem small to a claim that spins out of controls – often without the knowledge of the employer or adjuster.

Picture Physical Therapists Medical Provider
Wikimedia Commons – Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anastasia Puscian

I created a large study for a PT Network provider a few years ago.   The one area that stood out in the study was that a medical savings of 15% is puny when the wrong provider is treating the WC patient.  Most employees consider the PT on the same level as their treating physician – especially after seeing the PT every weekday for two weeks or a month before seeing the treating physician.

I used to question the need for PT until I crushed my left guitar-playing hand.   The first link at the top covers what happened to me.

Related:Workers Comp Physical Medicine – Adjusters’ Bane – WCRI Report

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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