Sector Spotlight

How health providers can work with employers

Employers often don’t realise that as experts in their own workplaces they have a wealth of information that could help their employees' rehabilitation.

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Injury Prevention and Management Consultants (IPMCs) work with employers to help them put in place strategies and processes for workplace injury management.

Part of the IPMC service involves educating and encouraging employers to communicate with treatment providers.

Employers often don’t realise that as experts in their own workplaces they have a wealth of information that could help treatment providers (and ACC) to make decisions on things like certification, suitable duties and other risk factors that may not have anything to do with injuries but can have detrimental effects on employees’ rehabilitation e.g. drugs, alcohol and relationship issues.

Employers who are engaged with, and supportive of, workplace injury management are generally willing to work with treatment providers and to discuss workplace rehabilitation options. This can lead to fewer barriers and/or the capacity to work through any issues that may arise.

Some of the common themes that we hear from employers are:

  • I can’t talk to my employee’s doctor/physio, etc. – that’s an invasion of privacy, or I don’t know enough to be able to talk to them
  • Who am I to tell the doctor/physio, etc. anything?
  • They (treatment providers) must know best
  • I’ve had someone in to do a worksite assessment before and the plan just wasn’t practical.

So how do IPMCs address misconceptions and position themselves to take advantage of this opportunity?

IPMCs can provide resources and education for employers on things like:

  • Privacy, what is “confidential” information, how to manage that, and what information can and should be given to treatment providers
  • The employee consent process
  • Information for treatment providers about employers’ injury management processes and expectations, job/task demands and any potential suitable duties for return to work
  • Looking at the feasibility of “aligned” or “dedicated” providers
  • Templates
  • Staff education
  • What to do and/or who to talk to if things don’t go the way the employers expect when communicating or dealing with treatment providers.

What can treatment providers do, or what have some treatment providers already done?

  • Meet their local IPMCs
  • Provide referrals to IPMCs if they are in workplaces that they recognise may benefit from assistance
  • Conduct dual education sessions with IPMCs on workplace injury management
  • Meet employers with whom they regularly have contact, and ask for worksite tours to gain an understanding of the workplace culture and return-to-work options
  • Ask employees whom they are trying to place into workplace rehabilitation programmes about their employers’ injury management and return-to-work processes
  • Certify based on capacity with clear restrictions and /or limits, so that employers can see if they have any duties to match.

Further information about the resources available for employers can be found at www.acc.co.nz/backonthejob.

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February 2014 Newsletter

Published 25/02/2014

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