As an employer, you are responsible to comply with your state’s workers’ compensation laws to avoid litigation, but when you go beyond compliance you will be able to get the real value of workers’ compensation benefits. This is key in allowing your injured employees to obtain the right medical care they need to be able to return to work as early and as safely as possible.
To realize this objective, there’s a need for your organization to develop a functional workers’ compensation program. Moreover, even with having a Risk Manager to create a strong program, you should keep yourself up-to-date of the latest trends in workers’ compensation. Being aware of these trends can equip you with the right information to make appropriate responses and adjustments especially when changes take place in the workers’ compensation landscape. An experienced medical case management company of workers comp management services would be invaluable to help execute the proper medical treatment and care coordination programs for your injured workers.
In case you missed it, here are the latest workers’ compensation trends you should be on the lookout for in 2021:
1. Telemedicine Services
The adoption of telemedicine services as a means to apply medical treatment. It is anticipated that telemedicine will still be offered in the workplace even after the pandemic is gone.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a process of delivering medical or health-related services by means of electronic information and telecommunication technologies. From a company’s point of view, it allows employees to obtain virtual medical services after sustaining a work-related injury. It includes medical video consultations with medical case managers and care providers by means of a virtual meeting application. Text message alerts from medical providers can also be treated as telemedicine. It is used to remind the injured worker of important steps patients should take to ensure fast recovery.
Telemedicine can be an effective option especially if in-person medical care isn’t immediately available. Here are some situations where telemedicine can be beneficial:
- When an injury happens at night and the nearest treatment facilities are closed.
- If there are no treatment facilities near your workplace.
- If your operation is conducted off-site and the need for medical care is unpredictable.
Considering the risks of the coronavirus, telemedicine has been increasingly sought by workers who want to avoid in-person visits. Aside from its ability to provide easy access to medical treatment after a work-related injury, telemedicine can be beneficial to your workers’ compensation program because:
- It eliminates patient transportation time and reduces physical trips to the treating physician.
- It makes access to medical care providers easier and simpler
- It minimizes treatment delays and improves the injured employees’ capability to recover.
- The benefits of telemedicine can reduce the cost of your organization’s workers’ compensation claims.
Telemedicine is generally beneficial to employees and employers alike. But you should keep in mind that it’s not a one size fits all solution to all injuries that occur in the workplace. It is only applicable to situations that are not urgent and not life-threatening. In-person treatments are still the primary method of treating patients in cases of emergency. Patients who are being treated via telemedicine may still be required to undergo in-person medical care to check the efficacy of their treatment.
2.The Consequences of COVID-19
The effect of COVID-19 pandemic prompted many employers to make major organizational adjustments including employee lay-offs, temporary shutdowns, and allowing employees to work from home.
These adjustments change the way businesses operate and also trigger changes in the way workers’ compensation claims are being reported. This can affect your company’s experience modification factor and premium costs. This is obviously because the adjustments you make can trigger changes in your workplace safety risks.
No matter how strict and careful you are in the implementation of your company’s safety protocols, you must be prepared for COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims. While workers’ compensation covers COVID-19-related claims, it doesn’t necessarily follow that all claims are honored as each claim is evaluated, and coverage may only be granted if it conforms to all of the following conditions:
- The illness arises in the course of the claimant’s employment.
- The claimant’s sickness is a consequence of job-specific conditions and not caused by common infections such as common cold or flu which can be contracted anywhere.
3. Mega Claims
The huge sum of claims or mega claims is taking center stage in the workers’ compensation industry. The amounts of such claims are exceptionally large; their total can go more than $3 million. These workers’ comp claims which usually stem from severe work-related injuries such as falls and motor vehicle accidents, are usually filed by employees who suffer from severe injuries that have a potential to become permanent. In some instances, there are mega claims that stem from minor injuries that grew worse because they were left untreated.
Mega claims are expensive, complex and can have a lasting impact on your organization’s finances. You should strive to prevent it by imposing strict safety policies and making sure that they are being followed, especially on jobs that expose your workers to identified risks. You may also seek help from specialists of workers compensation management services to make sure that each item in the claim is verified and validated.
Given the present health scenario, these trends are going to stay in the workers’ compensation realm for a while. The only consolation would be a decrease in the incidence of work-related vehicle accidents because the amount of employees that are no longer required to commute from home to work.
Noare is an efficient provider of medical case management and workers’ comp management services and we are available to help make life a bit easier despite our present circumstances. Call us Novare Network at (866) 532-1929.