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Effective medical care improves comp outcomes
Using occupational health best practices when treating injured workers can have a useful impact on their recovery, according to research published in the December 2011 issue of Medical Care, a journal of the American Public Health Association.

“Examples of best practices include promptly filing the workers’ compensation claim, phoning the employer to talk about the worker’s ability to return to work or a light-duty job, and regularly assessing a worker’s ability to do work activities,” reports WorkersCompensation.com, which described the findings.

For the study, seven researchers from L&I, the College of Public Health at Ohio State University, and the University of Washington’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences analyzed 105,607 workers’ compensation claims filed from July 2001 through June 2007. The study found that injured workers treated by healthcare providers operating under best practices identified by Washington state had 19.7% fewer disability days than other injured workers receiving treatment, and a reduction in total disability and medical costs of $510 per claim.

Workers suffering from back strain had a reduction in disability days of 29.5%, researchers reported.