Workers Comp: We’ll Deliver You Back to Work

Anyone who is hurt on the job will need to understand and manage the complex system of workers’ compensation. While we have come a long way from the ancient Arab world, when loss of a thumb was calculated as half the value of a finger, and the loss of a male body part was compensated according to the exact length that had been destroyed, and the value of an ear was based on its surface area . . . . there are still, necessarily, quite a few hairs to be split.

The first item on the agenda is to get a good evaluation. Whether it’s low back sprain or the loss of a finger, workers comp law is no-fault. If the employee is injured on the job, he or she deserves treatment and compensation.

The nature and type of injury, however, are critical. Workers comp laws distinguish between ‘impairment’ and ‘disability’.

Impairment is medically defined as a loss of some part of the anatomy or body function. Disability means that the impairment limits the patient’s ability to work.

Some states continue to have so-called schedules for certain injuries. While no longer based on the length of the body appendage that’s been lost, they are still omewhat arcane. South Dakota, for instance, mandates that a worker receive 50 weeks of compensation for the loss of a thumb– regardless of his or her ability to return to the job.

The second imperative is treatment. Whether the injury spinal or psychological, the patient/employee needs a trustworthy medical advisor.

An employer needs the following:

*   A competent evaluation and diagnosis

*   A sound treatment plan

*   A successful outcome of whatever treatment plan is decided

*   Ongoing medical care to reduce risks and unnecessary treatment

*   To return the employee to work as soon as possible

The employee’s needs are exactly the same: a sound diagnosis, good treatment plan, successful outcome or resolution of the medical problem, ongoing medical attention, and a speedy return to work.

At All-Pro Orthopedics, we have a track record of expert analyses and diagnoses. We can identify problems that may limit the patient’s recovery or compromise his or her ability to return to full function. We treat the whole patient respectfully, not just the injury.

Call our clinic and ask to speak with Dr. Jesse Shaw to learn more about our workers’ comp medical services.

For a complete and colorful history of Workers’ Compensation, see this NIH web site.