A Primer for Workers' Compensation
Jesse E. Bible
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Dan M. Spengler
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Hassan R. Mir
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Abstract

Background Context:

A physician's role within a workers' compensation injury extends far beyond just evaluation and treatment with several socioeconomic and psychological factors at play when compared to similar injuries occurring outside of the workplace. Although workers' compensation statutes vary among states, all have several basic features with the overall goal of returning the injured worker to maximal function in the shortest time period, with the least residual disability and shortest time away from work.

Purpose:

To help physicians unfamiliar with the workers' compensation process accomplish these goals.

Study Design:

Review.

Methods:

Educational review.

Results:

The streamlined review addresses the topics of 1) Why is Workers' Compensation Necessary? 2) What does Workers' Compensation Cover? 3) Progression following Work Injury 4) Impairment and Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), including how to use the 6th edition of American Medical Association's (AMA) Guides, 5) Completion of Work Injury Claim after Impairment Rating, 6) Independent Medical Evaluation, and 7) Causation.

Conclusions:

In the ‘no-fault’ workers' compensation system, physicians play a key role is progressing the claim along and, more importantly, getting the injured worker back to work as soon as safely possible. Physicians should remain familiar with the workers' compensation process, along with how to properly utilize the AMA Guides.

Contributor Notes

This article, which was published in 2014 in The Spine Journal, is republished with permission from Elsevier, and all citations and references are styled per The Spine Journal.

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