Provider Pulse
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Demystifying the process of getting back to work

Help workers resume work to safely and swiftly by supporting awareness and communication.

December 12, 2018
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Research proves employees who do not resume to work expediently after a work-related injury run a greater risk of not coming to work at all, and of not making a full recovery. That’s why Pinnacol’s Return to Work™ consulting (RTW) team recently partnered with our Provider Educator to create new resources that aid in communication between involved parties and awareness of the broad array of options available for modified duty.

The benefits of using Return to Work consulting expert resources

Getting injured workers back to work safely and quickly benefits workers by keeping them engaged in their work life and minimizing financial disruptions and anxiety. Employers benefit through mitigated workplace injury costs, less business disruption, as well as greater employee loyalty and a culture of safety. Providers can expect to see increasing patient satisfaction related to improved outcomes.

Our Return to Work consulting resources demystify the getting back to work process

Consistent and clear communication between involved parties is critical to success, but that communication can be challenging for a variety of reasons, including reluctance and lack of understanding among those involved.  

“For this reason, we’ve developed new, additional resources that further improve communication between everyone involved,” said Sally Parkinson, a Return to Work Consultant at Pinnacol. “There’s a communication loop, and we want to keep it strong, open and ongoing.”

These resources include:

  • A  document that encourages providers and patients to talk to employers about modified duties and to contact Pinnacol’s RTW team for assistance.
  • A document that shows employers how to contact providers with questions about work restrictions, treatment plans and safely transitioning injured employees to modified duties.

“Our Return to Work consultants are showcasing these new resources when they meet with providers [in conjunction with Pinnacol’s Provider Relations specialists] and employers,” Parkinson said. “After visits, providers can share feedback through an emailed survey. We’re also sharing preplanned modified duty lists for various industries, which are helpful to providers and employers alike.”

Pinnacol’s preplanned modified duty lists help providers and employers identify job tasks an injured worker can perform during recovery. Modified duty, which may include revised tasks, limited work hours, or modified work conditions or workspaces, is often integral to safely and quickly getting an injured employee back to work.

Outreach welcome by provider community

The preplanned modified duty lists and personal visits are welcomed by physicians and the physical therapists who are so integral to patients’ recovery.
“Sally and [Provider Relations specialist] Patricia Castillo came out to meet with us, and this doesn’t typically happen with other insurers,” said Ellen Price, D.O., medical director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Family Health West in Fruita, Colorado. “Their visit was invaluable.”

“A month ago, I spoke with an employer in the long-term care industry,” continued Dr. Price. “I was treating an injured employee who didn’t realize that restricted work was available. My direct conversation with the company clarified this, and my patient happily and safely transition to modified duty. Communication is so vital.”

By increasing the awareness of these Pinnacol resources, physicians and physical therapists can assist with referrals so injured workers and employers can focus on getting back to leading productive, full lives in a safe and swift manner.

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