Designating a workers’ compensation physician can improve employee care and provide cost savings


For an injured worker, the road to recovery cannot begin soon enough; and for an employer, getting a valued employee back to work as soon as possible is essential. With that in mind, working with medical providers that share in those objectives and understands the unique nature of your business creates a win-win situation for employee and employer. 

Developing a workers’ compensation plan that includes using designated medical providers will ensure appropriate care and faster recovery while saving costs. 

Why Provider Selection Matters

The health care provider plays a vital role in the outcome of the injured employee as well as the workers’ compensation claim, including:

  • Diagnosing the condition and assessing its cause, which has a direct impact on medical and other benefits owed to the injured employee.
  • Prescribing and providing a course of treatment and disability management, which determines how quickly an injured employee can return to work.
  • Assessing if the injured employee’s condition has reached maximum medical improvement, if the worker has a permanent impairment, and the extent of any impairment. If a preexisting condition contributed to the impairment, it is considered during the permanency determination process.

How does one find a quality, workers’ compensation-oriented provider, at the time of injury? The short answer is being prepared with Nurse Triage and Directed Care.

Nurse Triage

For non-life-threatening injuries, Nurse Triage can be the best first course of action. Nurse Triage is a convenient, cost-effective, care-centered resource that is available 24/7 to support timely reporting and appropriate treatment for non-life-threatening work-related injuries. It does this by:

  • Using the skills of a registered nurse in the initial assessment of non-life-threatening injuries
  • Providing the employee with a user-friendly experience
  • Offering guidance on the most appropriate medical attention, based on the injury sustained and the workers’ compensation rules for the state having jurisdiction.
  • Providing recommendations and referrals for appropriate medical care if additional treatment is needed.    
  • Supporting self-care when appropriate for the injury sustained
  • Reporting the claim to Nationwide, so that the employer can focus on their employee's well being and recovery.

Directed Care

Many employers are unaware of their right in some states to designate workers’ compensation physicians for their injured employees. Selecting a medical provider or panel before a work-related injury occurs can help speed recovery time, save costs, prevent delays in treatment, and avoid unnecessary urgent care or ER visits, and excessive medical tests.

By pre-selecting a provider or panel, the employer can share with them the unique aspects of their business, typical injuries and modified work options that are available as part of a successful return-to-work program. 

Directed care is not an option in every state. To learn about employer options in your state and to locate a designated treating provider, visit our website.

Quality Care and Controlled Cost

The physicians Nationwide recommends are selected from a network of providers experienced in treating work-related injuries. With the shortage of health care workers and rising medical costs, having a network of providers not only improves access to quality care but contains costs and the related impact on an employer.

Bottom line is, having a plan in place before an injury occurs can ensure the highest quality of care while saving time and money for both the employee and employer. Document your plan and confirm your supervisors understand what to do when an employee injury occurs. Effective use of Nurse Triage and selecting providers who know your operations and already interact with employees during non-injury visits (e.g., wellness clinics or pre-employment physicals) can help reduce the impact of accidents on your operations.

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