Patient’s Responsibilities in Work Related Injuries
You are being evaluated at Hilltop Medical Clinic (HTMC) for a work related injury. The workers compensation injury program has a reputation for being contentious and frustrating, so effective communication is essential.
HTMC, an urgent care clinic, is available to see injured workers for new, acute work related injuries. The injury must fall within our scope of practice and will extend for 45 days or the acute phase of the injury.
You are obligated to see the Employer’s provider for 30 days, unless the Employee has made arrangements in advance of the reported injury to see their Primary Care provider. After 30 days, the Employee is free to transfer their care to anyone within their network.
After 30 days, if your injury is not healing or responding to treatment and the claim cannot be closed, HTMC will send a report and a request to extend treatment into the sub-acute management phase, which is 180 days. The majority of claims are closed within this time. If the extension agreement is not reached, you will be notified as soon as possible, so you can contact the adjuster and make other continue care arrangements.
On the first visit, it is essential to identify and agree to the areas that have been injured, as this will not be allowed to change without a formal request to the adjuster. It will appear on your initial discharge papers.
As the injured party, you are the one at risk to have residual changes to your health. Your employer and the insurance companies responsibilities are to provide medical care that will restore your functional capacity and allow you return to work. Therefore, it is in your best interest to do everything possible to improve your health, even if it is not directly related to the injury. For example, if you smoke you should try to stop, because smoking delays healing of bone and connective tissues. Contact your Primary Care provider for help in these important areas, as the workers compensation insurance company is only obligated to provide care to the injured area.
Return appointments are essential to keep your claim current, to monitor progress, to change treatment plans, to renew medications and to update work restrictions. The return date will be on the discharge sheet that you receive as you complete your visit. It is your responsibility to call and change the date, if you cannot make the appointment or miss one. Missed appointments may interrupt your financial support, if you are off work or on limited duty or result in you being return to full-duty 48 hours after the missed appointment.
At each visit your functional status will be evaluated to determine your work status. The current recommendations will be forwarded to your employer. You will receive a copy on your discharge papers. Workers Compensation rules require us to describe your functional status independent of your current position or responsibilities. The Employer then uses this information to decide if there is appropriate limited duty that can accommodate the limitations. Patients on limited duty frequently are not returned to their customary positions.
Remain in contact with your employer. It is your responsibility to protect your relationship with your employer and your position. Each office visit at HTMC will include a work status report for you and your employer. These reports are an inexact science and require the addition of ‘common sense’ on both parties. A simple change, after a conversation between you and your employer, may allow you to return to work on modified duty. This is the best way to protect your position in the Company.
HTMC is dedicated to providing you with professional medical care to help you restore your health after an injury. Thank you for your trust.