Guest Post from Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex
Determining Causation in a Workers’ Compensation Case
Most medical providers choose their line of work because of an innate drive to help people. Helping a patient return to their normal life – whether through repairing a debilitating knee injury or relieving chronic back pain that has been years in the making – is incredibly rewarding work.
Treating workers’ compensation patients can at times be a different beast altogether. In addition to simply treating the patient, physicians must also determine causation and whether or not it was work related (a decision that greatly impacts the employer and determines the overall costs of a case). They also face a deluge of paperwork and questionnaires from attorneys, adjusters, nurse case managers, and others. To top it off, sometimes the patient doesn’t even want to get better because they feel incentivized to prolong the treatment.
The more information a physician has on a workers’ compensation case, the more accurately he can comment on causation and correctly manage the case. In some cases, the patient’s account is the only information the physician has. This account tells the physician a lot (a good workers’ compensation physician can learn a lot from a patient’s demeanor), but it also helps when the employer can provide information related to the working environment and how the incident occurred.
Not all injuries are straightforward. Pain is the most common symptom patients report, and it can be tricky to treat because it is subjective and there is no definitive test for it. The physician must employ an arsenal of tools to correctly identify both diagnosis and causation.
It’s easy to see that the process of determining causation can be complex, as are many of the other aspects of managing workers’ compensation. Controlling the costs and risk of workers’ comp is a challenge for Georgia businesses, but there are proven strategies that can form a framework for a comprehensive management system. If you’d like to learn more, join us for “Better. Faster. Stronger: A Medical and Legal Symposium on Workers’ Compensation” to hear more from physicians on how they use to determine causation. Learn more about the objective tests that can be performed for back injuries as well as how the various treatment processes available address common conditions.
Medical, legal and risk management experts will be leading presentations and panel discussions designed to help employers develop a workers’ compensation program that minimizes costs and risk. The Workers Compensation Symposium is scheduled for Augusta on August 24, 2017. For more information, click the link or the graphic below.