“I’ve been injured on the job – will I be fired?”

October 21, 2014

Cases where an injured worker is terminated, a.k.a. “fired,” while still attending physical therapy or enrolled in a Work Hardening program do, unfortunately, exist.

The important thing to keep in mind if you are an injured worker and are worried about losing your job is this:  You cannot control the actions of your employer, so instead keep your focus on rehabilitating your injury as quickly, and safely, as possible.  It should be common sense that the longer you remain off work, the more likely your employer will find a replacement.  For occupations that require more specialized training and/or educational Degrees, the window of rehabilitation may be longer in duration.  However, regardless of the time off from work, no job is safe after you have sustained an injury.  Therefore, it is of the upmost importance that you, the injured worker, educate yourself.  Ask questions and stay in contact with your case manager, employer, and physician.  Strictly follow any rehabilitation program prescribed to you and avoid all activities that could jeopardize your recovering injury.

If you have been terminated from your occupation, there are some considerations that can affect your case moving forward, stated very clearly in this article from 2013.

 

Written by Industrial Health, a specialized Workers’ Compensation therapy center which services Northern Virginia , Sterling , Loudoun , Fairfax , Dulles , Chantilly , Leesburg , Ashburn , Herndon , Reston , Centreville ; and offers programs including Physical Therapy , Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) , Work Hardening , Work Conditioning , Impairment Ratings , Permanent Partial Disability Ratings

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Workers’ Compensation Fraud

October 15, 2014

Sometimes, the good-intentioned assistance programs that exist so graciously in our society are targeted by people of ill-intent who wish to fraudulently take advantage of their services.  At Industrial Health, the program relevant to our company is Workers’ Compensation.  In the simplest of terms, this is a no-fault service to the worker who sustains an injury while in the job place.  These injuries range from a simple muscle strain that can linger for days or weeks; skeletal and/or ligament damage that require months to rehabilitate; all the way to more severe injuries that involve multiple bodily systems and could potentially be permanently debilitating.  Regardless of how the injury happened – whether through employee or employer negligence, or just a freak accident – Workers’ Compensation provides a safety net that can give the injured worker an income until they are able to safely return to work.  In some cases, the check they receive is vital to keeping the lights on in their home, fuel in their vehicle, and food on the table.

Accidents happen.  It’s a fact of life.  Without question, the majority of workers’ compensation claims are legitimate.  This is to say that the injured worker is putting forth the time and effort needed to rehabilitate their injury, while also avoiding activities which could jeopardize their progress.  “I just want to get back to work,” is a commonly uttered phrase during an evaluation.  However, if a majority exists there must also be a minority:  the malingers and the frauds.  When stories like this enter the public realm, it is truly enraging.  I cannot speak for this employee,  but obviously his actions were premeditated.  He is just one of many workers who try to defraud Workers’ Compensation on an annual basis.  Unfortunately, these instances of fraud tend to make the legitimate cases more complex and time consuming due to a greater amount of case-by-case scrutiny by Workers’ Compensation.

Here at Industrial Health, we want people to get back to work and will do all that is within our scope of power to facilitate a safe and effective recovery.  However, we also strive to lighten the financial burden of the Workers’ Compensation system by recognizing those individuals who are not being completely honest about their injury.  Our Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), based on the Matheson philosophy, is an effective tool that case managers and physicians can utilize if confronted with an injured worker whom they suspect may have secondary gains (though this is not the only use of an FCE!).  For more on FCEs, please click here.

 

Written by Industrial Health, a specialized Workers’ Compensation therapy center which services Northern Virginia , Sterling , Loudoun , Fairfax , Dulles , Chantilly , Leesburg , Ashburn , Herndon , Reston , Centreville ; and offers programs including Physical Therapy , Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) , Work Hardening , Work Conditioning , Impairment Ratings , Permanent Partial Disability Ratings

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Repetitive By Nature: Injuries in the Workplace

October 6, 2014

It is reasonable to assume that most physicans, case managers, and physical therapists have all dealt with an injured worker who is diagnosed with a repetitive-use injury; otherwise referred to as “Repetitive Motion Disorder” (RMD) by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  While RMD’s occur most frequently to the arm and hand, they can certainly develop elsewhere – the feet, knees, hips, and spine.  Indeed, most occupations existing today involve some degree of repetitive movement and the reality is that, given enough time, RMDs are inevitable.  The question therefore is this:  how does the injured worker return to their occupation when it’s the very nature of the occupation itself which is the cause of the injury?  The answer, as one would expect, lies in a greyish area between “easily” and “not going to happen.”  The reason for this convolution?  Well, one must look at the variables involved:

1)  Time The longer RMD is allowed to persist, the more  permanent its symptoms may become.  Recongnition and Intervention are the first and, arguably, most important variables when considering the likelihood that the injured worker will return to their occupation.

2)  Job Demand:  An important step to resolving an RMD case is addressing the cause(s) behind the issue and, wherever possible, suggesting reasonable accomodations be made to their workspace to prevent reaggreavation of the injury.  This can be accomplished through a Jobsite Analysis, which objectively studies and evaluates the injured worker’s occupational environment.

3)  Course of Treatment:  It is not possible to know how the injured worker will perform once back at work, so allowing a chance to “practice” can determine the feasibility of a full duty return-to-work.  This is the function of Work Hardening – a long duration therapy program which is able to simulate (within reason) both the intensity and duration of the worker’s occupation.   The results of this program can also yield reasonable accomodation suggestions that can allow the injured worker to make a successful transition back to full duty.

Ultimately, timely action and cooperation between the injured worker, their healthcare provider(s), and their case manager can mean the difference between temporary and permanent injury when RMD is the diagnosis.  For more on RMD, click here.

 

Written by Industrial Health, a specialized Workers’ Compensation therapy center which services Northern Virginia , Sterling , Loudoun , Fairfax , Dulles , Chantilly , Leesburg , Ashburn , Herndon , Reston , Centreville ; and offers programs including Physical Therapy , Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) , Work Hardening , Work Conditioning , Impairment Ratings , Permanent Partial Disability Ratings

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Understanding MET Testing and FCEs

October 6, 2014

A Metabolic Equivilant of Task test, or MET test, is an important component to any credible Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).  When an injured worker has an extended absence from their occupation, their ability return in a safe and productive manner hinges not only on the successful rehabilitation of their specific injury, but also on the condition of their cardio-respiratory system.  A valid MET test is important because a discrepancy between cardio-respiratory fitness and the energy required to perform the injured worker’s target job may prove to be a signficant hurdle to clear.  When considering occupations that demand high levels of cardiovascular conditioning, such as a Firefighter, the performance of a MET test is critical to ensure that their body is capable of safely meeting the challenge before returning them to their occupation.  Following physical therapy, the injured worker worker may prove strong enough to return to work, but do they possess the stamina to successfully reintegrate into their occupation?  MET testing can answer this question.

At Industrial Rehab., we incorporate MET testing into our objectively thorough, Matheson-based FCEs.  With the valuable information gained as a result of the FCE, physicians and case managers are able to make more informed decisions regarding their injured worker’s return-to-work path.

For more on MET testing, click here.

 

Written by Industrial Health, a specialized Workers’ Compensation therapy center which services Northern Virginia , Sterling , Loudoun , Fairfax , Dulles , Chantilly , Leesburg , Ashburn , Herndon , Reston , Centreville ; and offers programs including Physical Therapy , Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) , Work Hardening , Work Conditioning , Impairment Ratings , Permanent Partial Disability Ratings

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Three Types of Functional Capacity Evaluations

September 10, 2014

There are three types of Functional Capacity Evaluations. These three types are: BaselineJob-Specific, and Medical Legal. Here at Industrial Rehab. we offer all three! To read more about the three different types of Functional Capacity Evaluations, click here.

 

Written by Industrial Health, a specialized Workers’ Compensation therapy center which services Northern Virginia , Sterling , Loudoun , Fairfax , Dulles , Chantilly , Leesburg , Ashburn , Herndon , Reston , Centreville ; and offers programs including Physical Therapy , Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) , Work Hardening , Work Conditioning , Impairment Ratings , Permanent Partial Disability Ratings

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Workplace Safety and Work Injury Evaluation- Hazard Prevention and Controls in the Workplace

September 9, 2014

There are four different prevention techniques and/or controls that can be put in place to reduce or eliminate the exposure to risks and hazards in the workplace. It is always best to be proactive about introducing these controls even before an employee reports fatigue, aches or pains, and well before an employee suffers an injury. To read more click here. Industrial Health is an Industry Leader in the rehabilitation of the injured worker. Services include:

Function Capacity Evaluation

Work Hardening

Work Conditioning

Physical Therapy with Work Simulation

Jobsite Analysis

Impairment Rating

Permanent Partial Disability Rating

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Ergonomics Guidelines for Manual Handling

July 31, 2014

Would you like to know some of the Ergonomics Guidelines for Manual Handling?  Click here to view the entire document!

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Ergonomics and How They Prevent Injuries in the Workplace

July 31, 2014

According to OSHA, “work-related MSDs can be prevented. Ergonomics — fitting a job to a person — helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs.”  To read more on the importance of ergonomics in the workplace, click here!

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Work Hardening and Work Conditioning: Do They Affect Disability?

July 25, 2014

According to a study performed by Deborah Lechner, there was a “52% increase in the rate of return to work in the treatment group.”  Work Hardening and Conditioning programs like the ones offered at Industrial Health.  To view the whole study click here!

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Work Hardening vs. Work Conditioning

July 25, 2014

What is the difference between Work Hardening and Work Conditioning?  Both use strengthening and conditioning specific to a person’s job however work hardening is more intense.  Both services are offered at Industrial Health!   Click here to find out more information about the differences between the two!

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