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Frequently Asked Questions

To help you better understand the Worker's Compensation process and how Injury Care Associates works with employers and their employees we have created list of the most common questions that we are asked to help.

  • What is Occupational Medicine?

    Occupational Medicine is the field of medicine that specializes in the prevention, treatment and management of On-the-Job injuries and illnesses as well as the delivery of Employee Health Services. On-the-Job injuries are also commonly referred to as “Work-related Injuries” or “Workers’ Compensation Injuries.” In the State of Colorado, employers are required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance in the event an employee sustains an injury or illness as a direct result of their work activities. Following an On-the-Job injury, the injured employee will report the injury to their employer and will be directed to a medical facility where they will receive medical treatment for their injury or illness. 

    Employee Health Services are preventative services employers may offer or require a new or tenured employee to complete on a one-time or regular basis. These services may include drug and alcohol testing, vaccinations (Hepatitis B, MMR, Tetanus and Varicella) or immunological testing or physical exams. The services an employee may require will vary depending on the job the employee will be performing as well as any employer specific requirements. 

    The goal of Employee Health Services is to protect the employee while at work and to keep an employer’s workforce healthy and on-the-job.

  • Why is it important to have a Workers’ Compensation Specialist manage my claim?

    Work-related injuries or illnesses can have a significant impact on an employee’s ability to work and earn a living. Similarly, a work-related injury or illness can cause hardship to an employer as an injured employee may be unable to perform their regular job duties and the employer has to find a replacement until the employee is able to return-to-work. 

    Injuries can be costly both to the employer and the injured worker. It is important that the injury and rehabilitation process be managed by a trained professional to limit unnecessary time-off from work and to ensure that the injured worker is provided the appropriate treatments in a timely manner.

    Trained Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Medicine physicians are familiar with not only the types of injuries most sustained by workers, but they are also familiar with the treatment process for work-related injuries. When an employee sustains a work-related injury, the treatment process is different than if the individual had been injured outside of the workplace. When an injury is sustained during work activities, the employee will receive treatment through the employers Workers’ Compensation program. Payment for these services is separate from an employee’s private or company-sponsored health plan and often results in little or no out-of-pocket expense to the injured employee. Additionally, during the treatment and management phase of a work-related injury, the medical provider and the employer will often communicate and work together in order to return the injured employee back to work. This communication is important because it allows the medical provider to better understand the regular job duties of the injured employee, whether the employer can offer a temporary job to the employee. Temporary jobs or “modified duty” allow the injured worker to continue working while still following their prescribed treatment plan. 

    Medical providers familiar with treating work-related injuries are also aware of the challenges faced by both the employee and the employer during the rehabilitation process. To rehabilitate the patient as quickly as possible, the medical provider overseeing the medical treatment for the injured worker will often coordinate physical therapy, diagnostic imaging and other resources to aid in the recovery process. A trained medical provider familiar with the injury or illness and a trained staff to coordinate the required treatments is critical to the recovery of an injured worker. A well-coordinated treatment and rehabilitation process can save the employer and insurance company a significant amount of time and money.

  • Is Specialization in Occupational Medicine necessary?

    Yes. While other Occupational Medicine facilities also provide other services including Urgent Care or Primary Care, Injury Care Associates is a dedicated Occupational Medicine facility. This means our medical providers spend more time with each patient getting to know their injury, measuring improvement and educating our patients on their treatment plan. Injury Care Associates takes the time to work with injured workers and their employer to return the patient to work. 

    Work-related injuries can be very complicated and often, a patient’s recovery can be impacted by several factors outside the employers control. Without having a medical provider that is familiar with the common reasons a patient may not be recovering and trained to deal with the social and economic impacts of a work-related claim, a patient’s recovery may be delayed and a positive outcome may become out of reach. Injury Care Associates utilizes several psychological and functional assessment tools to help monitor and track patient progress and intervene early if a patient begins showing signs of delayed progress.

  • How will I know if my injured worker has any work restrictions or limitations?

    Injury Care Associates knows that communicating with the injured workers’ employer is a critical part of the recovery process. We will send a report to the employer following every doctor’s appointment, providing an update on the patient treatment and detailing any work restrictions the employee needs to adhere to. We can fax or email patient reports to the employer or designated representative authorized to receive communications regarding employee status. 

    Patients are also given a copy of their report following their visit so they can take the report directly back to their work site.

  • How do we determine if physical therapy is appropriate for your injury?

    The medical provider overseeing the rehabilitation will determine if physical therapy is appropriate for the injury. The medical provider will use the Medical Treatment Guidelines as well as their professional experience to determine if the patient will benefit from physical therapy. 

    Depending on the injury, the physical assessment performed by the physician and the patient’s current condition, physical therapy may not be indicated or required. It is important that the patient be thoroughly evaluated to determine the appropriate treatment for the specific injury. 

    Once physical therapy is determined to be appropriate, the physician will request a short-term course of treatment to determine the patient’s response to treatment. Positive responses to treatment may include: decreases in pain, increases in range of motion, increases in strength, improved ability to function or other improvements in functional status. If a patient is responding favorably to treatment and treatment will assist in achieving a full and timely recovery, therapy may be continued as indicated. 

    Not all patients will respond to physical therapy initially or require sustained treatment. The medical provider, patient and physical therapist will work together to determine if physical therapy is a viable treatment option.

  • Who do I talk to if I have a question regarding my employee’s treatment or ability to return to work?

    Employers are always welcome to call Injury Care Associates with any questions regarding a patient’s treatment or work restrictions. 

    We value the role that employers play in the recovery process of injured workers’ and work with employers to protect and rehabilitate their injured workers. At Injury Care Associates, our physicians are available to speak directly with the employer to answer any questions an employer may have and to explain the injury and treatment plan. Oftentimes, the more the employer understands the treatment plan and recovery timeline, the more the employer can assist with an injured worker with transitional work opportunities.

  • What is Maximal Medical Improvement (MMI)?

    Maximal Medical Improvement is used to reference the point in a patient’s treatment where his or her condition is not expected to improve with additional active treatment. MMI can mean that a patient is fully recovered from the injury or it can mean that the medical provider has determined that the patient has reached a point in their recovery process in which additional active treatment is not expected to yield additional improvement. 

    MMI does not always mean that a patient has fully recovered from their injury. Rather, it is to signify a point in the recovery process in which active treatment is no longer deemed necessary and that the patient’s condition has stabilized to a point the medical professional managing the claim feels that all treatment options have been exhausted and additional treatment is not warranted.

  • What is Maintenance Care?

    Many patients will continue to improve after their case has been placed at Maximal Medical Improvement (MMI). It is common for a medical provider overseeing a patient’s case to assign Maintenance Care. Maintenance Care is additional treatment that will occur after the patient is placed at MMI and is intended to help maintain the patient’s level of recovery or functional status. Maintenance Care may include a gym membership with specific exercises to complete, physical therapy, follow-up visits with a medical provider or additional treatment that can be performed. 

    Maintenance Care can be a major step in maintaining and even continuing to build on the gains achieved during active treatment.

  • What is an Impairment Rating?

    Impairment Rating are a measure of the loss of function due to the injury the patient sustained. In order to perform an Impairment Rating a medical provider must be Level II Accredited though the State of Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation. The medical provider performing the Impairment Rating will review the patient medical record and may even take range-of-motion measurements from both the patients injured and non-injured body parts. Using the AMA Guidelines to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, the provider will determine the  disability from the injury. 

    It is very important to have a qualified medical provider perform your Impairment Rating as it will often determine the amount of benefits a patient will receive once active treatment ends and the case is placed at MMI. Medical providers are unable to inflate the level of Impairment rating assigned to a patient as Impairment Ratings can be deemed to be invalid if the rating is not able to be confirmed by a second, independent, qualified medical provider. 

    All Injury Care Associates Physicians are Level II Accredited and are trained in performing Impairment Ratings.

     

  • What is the role of the patient?

    Patients play a very large role in the treatment of work-related Injuries. Following an injury, the patient will work with the medical provider managing the patient’s claim to determine a treatment plan to achieve specific functional goals that the patient and provider have set. To achieve a positive outcome, it is important that the patient adhere to the treatment plan the medical provider has prescribed. This means taking medications as directed, arriving for and participating in prescribed treatments such as physical therapy, and adhering to assigned work restrictions at all times. It is important for patients to note that work restrictions are in effect 24/7, not just during work hours. Work restrictions are in place to protect the patient and support the body throughout the recovery process. When restrictions are not followed, the patient is at risk of causing additional damage to the injured area and prolonging the recovery process. 

    Equally important to arriving to appointments and following the medical providers’ treatment plan is communication between the medical provider and patient. Whether treatments are effective or not helping,  pain levels throughout the day or the patient’s functional status and state of mind are all important pieces of information the medical provider needs to effectively manage a claim. If the patient does not communicate essential information to the medical provider, it is difficult for the medical provider to determine if the treatment plan appropriate. Additionally, information surrounding the patients’ injury is important as well. Whether or not a  employer is accommodating work restrictions, if the patient has experienced a life changing event such as job loss, illness, or death of a family member, or, if the patient is feeling depressed because of their injury. All of this is essential information that needs to be shared with your medical provider. 

    Lastly, the patient needs to help facilitate communication between the medical provider and the employer. After every visit with the medical provider overseeing the patient’s treatment, the patient will receive a summary of the visit with work restrictions, follow up visits, and other valuable information for the employer to be aware of. The patient will be given 2 copies of this report. The first copy is for the patient’s personal records. The second report is to be given to their immediate supervisor upon the patients return to work. This is critical to make sure every party involved in the patient’s recovery is given the same information regarding the needs of the patient. If information regarding patient’s restrictions, follow-up visits, referrals, or work status is not communicated in a timely manner, it becomes difficult to effectively manage a patient’s recovery.

  • Do you take private insurance?

    No. Injury Care Associates does not provide any Urgent Care outside of the Worers’ Compensation system or Primary Care services. We only contract with Workers’ Compensation insurers and with employer directly.

Have a Question?

If you have a question that we did not answer above or want to learn more about how Injury Care Associates can help your business with providing worker's compensation benefits, complete the form on the right or call Injury Care Associates clinic that is close to you listed below.


Thornton

9351 Grant Street, Suite 600 Thornton, CO 80229

(720) 531-8377 8:00am - 5:00pm Open