CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 16

IMPROVING OUTCOMES

A Fresh Look at

CASE MANAGEMENT IN
WORKERS' COMPENSATION
BY JENNIFER CHRISTIAN, MD, MPH

W

hen people ask me
where to locate a case
manager for maximum
impact - one who is
familiar with workers'
compensation - my short answer is: in the
doctor's office. I believe those embedded
case managers actually should get involved
in every case in that medical practice in
which the patient is a working person whose
ability to function at home and at work has
been significantly disrupted by an injury or
illness for more than two to four weeks,
whether or not the patient is covered by
workers' compensation or disability benefits.
Loss of livelihood is a very poor health
outcome, although we in healthcare have
not been trained to see it that way - until
now, at least. The Work Disability Prevention
Manifesto on page 19 explains why things
need to change.
Before discussing the reasons why putting
case management into doctor's offices is

16

CMSA TODAY

Issue 8 * 2017

important, let's discuss how to maximize
the value of case management in general.
First, to be clear: I am a fierce champion
of broadly defined case management in
workers' compensation. It's much more than
facilitating medical care. From the start of
my career, I've seen the mismatch between
what patients actually need and the current
structure and function of the healthcare
and workers' compensation systems. I have
many times seen the difference that good
case management can make, having personally supervised the transformation of acute
care nurses into case managers and also
overseeing an effective case management
department. I serve as a part-time physician
version of a case manager. In that light, I also
have seen the incredible opportunities to
make a difference in seeing what was missed
because case managers weren't called in on
time, as well as the hopelessly snarled-up
messes that we are expected to miraculously
clean up afterward.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION
CASE MANAGEMENT
Effective case management in workers'
compensation starts with a good understanding of how to facilitate the medical
care process, and how to connect patients
with the most effective care. However, it
also must include a commitment to helping injured or ill-working people minimize
the disruptive (and potentially destructive)
impact of their medical conditions on their
daily lives and futures - which means minimizing time away from work and protecting
their jobs/livelihoods.
However, in some workers' comp circles,
the term "case management" has become
a bit tarnished. Too often, customers have
seen case managers delivering minimal value
by simply functioning as a passive communications channel. The case manager listens
and then writes down what the worker, the
employer or the doctor said, and then sends
off the report. Not much value is delivered



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017

President’s Letter
Association News
CMSA Corporate Partners
Workers’ Compensation: Opening Doors for Case Managers
A Fresh Look at Case Management in Workers’ Compensation
Case Management of the Wounded Warrior through the Transition of Care
A Kaizen Approach to Case Management Documentation
Past Presidents Corner
Index of Advertisers
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Intro
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - cover1
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - cover2
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 3
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 4
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 5
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - President’s Letter
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Association News
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 8
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - CMSA Corporate Partners
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Workers’ Compensation: Opening Doors for Case Managers
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 11
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 12
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 13
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 14
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 15
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - A Fresh Look at Case Management in Workers’ Compensation
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 17
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 18
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 19
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 20
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Case Management of the Wounded Warrior through the Transition of Care
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 22
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 23
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - A Kaizen Approach to Case Management Documentation
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 25
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 26
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 27
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Past Presidents Corner
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - 29
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - Index of Advertisers
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - cover3
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2017 - cover4
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