Chronic medical conditions have historically been one of the leading drivers of disability in the U.S. workforce. Those conditions include ongoing pain, ambulatory problems, and treatment for major illnesses, like cancer. While return-to-work programs have grown in popularity and have had notable success at reducing both workers compensation and group disability costs, “forward-thinking” employers, as benefits editor Bob Gatty puts it in Leader’s Edge magazine, are evolving their initiatives to include “stay-at-work” measures.
Instead of siloing workers comp and disability, cutting-edge employers are merging the best practices of work-reintegration programs to accommodate employees’ needs, both physiological and psychological, to reduce leave and mitigate workplace conditions that lead to disability claims. Sometimes these efforts include intervention by employers to proactively combat potentially disabling situations, ranging from age-related problems to absentee or injury issues resulting from diabetes, obesity, and illness treatment protocols that include heavy medication.
- Training to transition employees into jobs that better fit their post-injury or intra-treatment abilities
- Emphasizing and incentivizing wellness
- Accommodating needs with in-house changes to lighting, seating, mobility and the like
- Providing flexible worksite solutions, such as flex-time and telecommuting
- Offering and encouraging disability income protection through the workplace that covers partial disability, even if it’s long-term.
Initiatives for Your Practice
Not only do physicians and other medical professionals experience higher stress than many other workers, the physical demands, especially on joints, backs and feet, can lead to early and prolonged pain and disability. Add to that the time demands and need for extreme attentiveness at work, and you can see why chronic pain and some medical treatments for illnesses could make coming to work in a pre-illness or pre-injury job nearly impossible. Without accommodation from the company or practice, a doctor, nurse or other medical care provider can find themselves facing tough choices about working and healing.
That doesn’t have to be the case. With an effective stay-at-work program that follows the points above, many medical centers and doctors offices do right by their employees. Keep your employees productive and protected. For information on risk management and excellent disability income protection, contact a Doctor Disability specialist in disability insurance for doctors.