Workers Compensation – When You’re Injured on the Job

Workers Compensation: no one wants to experience it, but everyone who works needs access to it. And if you mention the words ‘workers comp’ to a business owner or employee, and you may be met with unhappy groans. The mountains of paperwork, the time the employee is out of the office, and the injury itself are not enjoyable for anyone. Our associates at Mid-Tennessee Bone and Joint recognize the effort that goes into the entire workers comp process and we are devoted to managing the steps from start to finish, making it as stress-free as possible for everyone.

We are proud to have two skilled Workers Comp Specialists at our Columbia office who handle every aspect of our patients’ cases. Kay McKissack and Cindy Carpenter are the main contacts for all claims within our office. Whether you’re the employer, employee, case manager, or adjustor, you can reach out to our office if you have any questions or comments about the case in which you are involved.
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So what should you expect on your first visit as a workers comp patient? A quick phone call from the employer to start the process will include questions about the type of injury, an approval for the employee to be seen by our providers, determination of a case number, confirmation of insurance, and the employee’s information. For workers comp injuries that happened within the last two weeks, the employee is able to come through OrthoQuick to be seen with no appointment necessary.

From there, we will perform any required scans to confirm the injury and begin to develop a course of treatment. For injuries that require surgical attention, we have an out-patient surgery center in our building. We also have a full physical therapy suite in our building, complete with a HydroWorx therapy pool for patients who can benefit from that type of treatment.

For employers, we offer many benefits of allowing us to care for your workers comp cases. The primary benefit is our ability to fully treat the patient within one location. Patients can see a doctor, receive an MRI or x-ray, have out-patient surgery, and undergo physical therapy all in the same building. We can even prescribe medication in-house for our workers comp patients.

For our friends and colleagues in southern Middle Tennessee, utilizing Mid-Tennessee Bone and Joint for your workers comp care limits the distance a patient travels for treatment and avoids the hassle of dealing with a confusing network of hospitals, reducing time and cost involved in a treatment plan.

Through OrthoQuick, we treat a variety of workers comp injuries. While there is no “typical” injury, the injuries that present usually fall into one of a few categories: slip/trip, overexertion, falls, machinery accident, or injury via repetitive motion. We will also see back and neck workers comp injuries through OrthoQuick.

For all parties, the ability to diagnose and treat an injury quickly is of the utmost importance. That means a faster return to work, more opportunities to earn a paycheck, and more hands on deck for the employer. However, one possible scenario is that your injury has healed enough to get back to work, but not enough to return to the exact job you had prior to your injury. We encourage all employers to offer light duty options to their employees returning from time off work. Your doctor will let you know when you’re able to go back to work, even if your treatment isn’t fully completed. Your doctor will also let you know of any limitations for your job and what you will and will not be able to perform while working.
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For example, if your pre-injury job mandated that you regularly lift 20 pounds, your light duty responsibilities could be modified to remove any heavy lifting. An employee’s light duty position may include desk work, inventory work, or another non-strenuous position. In the state of Tennessee, an employer is not required to provide light duty work to an employee, but it is encouraged. If the employer provides light duty accommodations to the employee based on the treating physician’s medical opinion, the employee must return to work and attempt the light duty position or risk losing their disability benefits. Our office works with all parties to ensure clear communication on these decisions.

For employers, our physicians are available to tour your facility and answer any questions related to workers comp care. We know it’s helpful to see who is personally treating your employees and what to expect during that treatment plan. In turn, we can determine what light duty options are available at your company, meet the key decision makers we will be communicating with, and obtain a full understanding of job duties and what types of movements employees make in their positions. Are there repetitive overhead arm motions? Do your employees regularly lift 20 to 50 pounds? Knowing that information will help our physicians and physical therapists as we treat your employee.

Our satellite locations in Pulaski and Lewisburg also make it easy to be seen for follow up workers comp visits without traveling into Columbia. Dr. Doug Wilburn and Dr. Jeffrey Adams staff these locations about twice per month, so your employees can easily request one of these locations for their return visits if they are assigned to any of these physicians.

Our primary goal at Mid-Tennessee Bone and Joint is to deliver quality treatment for our patients and provide that treatment with care and respect. Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you have any questions regarding our workers compensation program.
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