Injured Employees and Rehabilitation Nurses Work Well Together
The second most seen medical provider by injured employees would be the rehabilitation nurse if assigned to the file. Last week, I covered the medical provider that Injured Employees see the most overall.
As I have often said, rehabilitation nurses or case managers can be one of the best loss reduction techniques.Workers Compensation Case Managers or rehabilitation nurses function as multifaceted costs reducers on files. We received a batch of mishandled files a few years ago.
The main theme was there were no rehabilitation nurses assigned to them. We immediately assigned out a nurse on almost every file.
These files were at least one year old with an injured worker who had drawn Temporary Disability benefits since the date of the injury. The files were all settled or closed within eight months.
The rehab nurse will usually visit the injured worker at home to assess their medical condition, return to work, considerations, and other important factors when they create their initial report. Rehab nurses are not there to spy on employees.
Many times the rehab nurse will accompany the employee to the physician’s office for their medical appointments. This is very helpful in cases where there is a complex medical condition or often the rehab nurse acts as a medical term “translator” of sorts.
The main benefit is that the injured employee feels there is someone they can call if they have any questions about their medical treatment and return to work besides the adjuster.
One of the most critical jobs that a rehab nurse performs is as a hub for a return to work analysis between the physician, employee, and employer. The state of Delaware is the only state that I know of that requires a job bank provided by employers for a successful return to work.
The rehab nurse will often:
Obtain a job description or descriptions from the employer
- Discuss the modified duty jobs with the employee
- Discuss the jobs and provided job description to the treating physician
- Have the treating Dr. sign off on the appropriate job description
- Facilitate the communication and assist with the return to work
The above bullet points are all performed by field case managers. There are many state laws on how the rehabilitation nurses or case managers can operate under the WC statutes.
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