One day from now we will finish putting the last few memories of this year in a box, we'll mark it 2016, and put it in long term storage. At some point, we might go back to the 2016 box and open it to reminisce during a moment of melancholic reflection, but that time seems far off and unlikely to occur right now. At the same time, the delivery of a new box will arrive on our doorstep. The box will be clean and new, void of any marks, scratches, or other imperfections. Unlike the many packages that have arrived at our door in the past year from Amazon and other places that seem only to exist on the Web, we're not completely sure what we will find inside.
I started Frank's case in early May of 2013. Frank was a 43 year old out of work carpenter. He had injured his lower back after falling about 12 feet off some construction staging (scaffolding). Frank's DOI was in 2005 and by the time I had received his case it had already settled. Prior to his case settling Frank had been through the normal treatment pathways which included activity modification, oral medications including opiates, physical therapy, and interventional pain management (injections).
Windham Group exists because of great people. People who work tirelessly. People who despite the challenges in our industry continue to champion our cause of getting injured workers' back to work. Windham Group can be traced back to one person who had a vision, who knew she could make a difference, who found a problem that she knew she could solve. With that vision, Windham Group was born. For twenty-seven years we have used the springboard she built, we continue to refine how we help people find meaning in life from helping them get back to work.
We lost one of our greatest people this week, Teresa E. Craig, our founder.
Topics: Return To Work
Sometimes it's difficult to fathom how in a physically demanding work environment like a construction site, that there are options for Return To Work. Add to the fact that you may be dealing with a small employer who does not have a surplus of other positions an injured worker could fill, and people quickly write off the possibility to return someone to work until they are 100% recovered. In this Return To Work Spotlight, we have a three-man crew consisting of the owner, working foreman and another employee. They were licensed for both commercial and residential jobs. The concrete construction foreman was out of work with a work release, with a left upper extremity injury. The work release stated that two-handed duty was required, he could not lift anything over 50 lbs. with his left upper extremity, no pushing/pulling over 50 lbs. with his left upper extremity and no working or driving while on narcotics.
The work environment influences the return to work outcome regardless of the injury or medical condition (Kosny et al., 2013). Employers as well as co-workers of an injured employee have a meaningful role in the return to work process of an injured colleague. What’s important is how an injured worker is supported during the acute and rehabilitative phases after an injury. Co-workers are indispensible in supporting an injured worker during the transition from being disabled, through the complete injury recovery process and returning to full duty employment.
Topics: Return To Work
Imagine getting into a fender bender and going through the process of working with your insurance adjuster to get your car repaired. After a period of time you get a call from your adjuster letting you know that the body shop has finished the repair and your car is ready for pick up. Instead of saying, “Ok, I’ll go get it”, you say, “I’ve decided I don’t want my car back….it was a bad purchase”. Now imagine your adjuster saying, “Oh, ok” and just like that, you have relieved yourself from all the debt and liability associated with your vehicle. You’re free to go find a newer and presumably, better vehicle. That definitely requires a good imagination because it has never, and will never, happen.
Topics: Return To Work
Landscaper with right hip, neck and lower back injuries
Landscaping is a rough job that uses hand and power tools or equipment. Workers perform a myriad of tasks including laying sod, mowing, trimming, planting, digging, and even snow removal in the off season. The work can be arduous. A valuable landscape employee that had sustained hip, neck and lower back injuries was able to recover enough to be cleared to return to modified duty work. The work release had restrictions that included not lifting more than 10 pounds, and no more than 50 minutes of sitting or standing. For many these work restrictions would be an insurmountable obstacle to a successful return to work. To make things harder, the employer had laid the injured employee off and replaced them with a new worker. Our Return To Work team took the modified duty work restrictions and collaborated with the employer to identify an alternate position for the employee that was immediately available, and within the injured workers' abilities with the implementation of simple job task rotation and regular breaks.
We participated in some interesting dialogue just recently, about Workers’ Comp costs. Workers’ Compensation has a cost problem that we’re all trying to patch up or put a band-aid on. Our efforts include implementing a pharmacy program, engaging with a bill review provider, aligning with a physical therapy network, discounting both DME (Durable Medical Equipment), diagnostics and maybe even psych treatment, all with the intent of creating SAVINGS. But there is a problem. Costs are still going up! We can all recognize that while a healthy managed care program SHOULD be leveraging all of the above, we’re not actually saving anything.
Early Intervention - be prepared to act
In this monthly spotlight we dive into how it is imperative to recognize the importance of early intervention prior to a claim being filed, as well as early intervention when an injured worker first returns to work yet is still in pain.
Employees experiencing pain and discomfort during the course of their work need immediate attention, they need to know that their employer wants to hear about these situations and will work tirelessly to make sure the work environment is productive and safe. We worked with three employees recently who may not have stayed on the job without a concerned employer responding appropriately and keeping things in check.
The Continuum at Its Finest!
This is our monthly spotlight showcasing how sometimes you need a combination of tools to get people back to work. We pride ourselves on having the most unique "one-two Return To Work punch" in the industry.
A Windham Group Case Manager was assigned to an aging file for a Mover/Shop Tech at an arcade game rental and delivery company. The injured worker had a lumbar strain. This gentleman had been out of work for almost a year. Shortly after our case manager began working the file, it was clear that there was nothing else to be done medically to get this person back to work. The right physicians had been involved, the treatment plan had been rock solid. Our case manager knew that the best way to get this injured worker back to work was to impact the physical work environment.