Reading Workers Comp Paper Files – Too Old School or The Best Way To Handle Them?
Most discussions on workers comp paper files have an element of “Ewww – those are disgusting” somewhere in the conversation.
We are in the age of the small screen (smartphone) or at least a tablet or laptop. <<Just gross We are in the age of the itty bitty screen, not workers comp paper files – or as many adjusters call them manual files.
My last two experiences with huge amounts of paper files were as an expert witness and as a consulting mercenary adjuster. Coincidentally, both assignments showed up in two completely stuffed copier paper boxes delivered by the UPS driver with a dolly to move them – with this grin on his face as he knew what they were somehow.
One positive aspect of these two instances was that I knew the assignments had to be dealt with quickly due to the volume of paper. Would I have responded in the same manner if I received the material on a thumb drive?
A secret – I always count the pages of material on a thumb drive. PDF’s can be counted quickly. That way I know how much time to spend on the assignments. One note – if any of the pages are duplicates, I still have to figure out if they are duplicates or not. That task is much easier on paper for me.
Then of course, printers in claims offices are humming all day long outputting thousands of pages. Yes, they all could be letters or forms, etc. Many claims adjusters and just not the 50+ crowd have admitted to me at times that they print out a section of an online computer file.
The claims adjuster, supervisor or manager wishes to read the file more closely or that their carrier or TPA employer does not allow off-site access to the adjuster sections of claim files. The claims person will print them and take them home with them to review.
What are the advantages or the old tried and true way to adjust files? From the adjusters come the reasons for Workers Comp paper files:
- Can easily highlight the important material. Sometimes that is not so easy in certain software packages >PDFs(?)
- Notes do not magically disappear on paper- I know all the claims staffs reading this are shaking their heads up and down.
- Can write side notes on my notes – not able to do that in a system
- Almost like having a different person reviewing the file – new perspective in a way
- Did this quite a bit more when I was either a trainee or very experienced
- Less stressful way to review
- Less eye strain to review
- Usually pick up something I missed on the screen <<<very popular response from adjusters
- Can compare an old note to a new one – easier to do by just looking at different pages and not losing my place when flipping through screens
A caveat – if it is against company rules to print out material and take it home – do not do it. You do not want that in your personnel file.
When was the last time that you handled Workers Comp paper files?
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