Using Medical Disability Guidelines in Your Return to Work Program

How medical disability guidelines can help predict when an injured employee will return to work.

When an employee is injured in the workplace, workers’ compensation insurance is there to cover the cost of their medical treatment, rehabilitation, and the wages they lose while out of work.  The longer an employee is away from the workplace, the higher the company’s workers compensation costs.  This is why many businesses look to shorten employee downtime through a return-to-work program.  These programs allow injured employees to return to the workplace with modified job duties that will not exacerbate their injuries.  While these programs are a great way to shorten employee absences and reduce workers comp costs, encouraging an employee to return too soon can lead to serious problems.  This is where medical disability guidelines come into play.

What are Medical Disability Guidelines?

Medical disability guidelines provide estimations of how long an injured employee might need to recover before returning to the workplace.  These guidelines account for a variety of factors such as:

  • The difficulty of the employee’s work
  • Type and extent of the employee’s injuries
  • Data on recovery times for various injuries

Using Medical Disability Guidelines

Medical disability guidelines are useful because they help the employer, employee, and other involved parties anticipate when a return to work is possible.  These guidelines allow the injured employee and their physician to track the employee’s recovery progress.  Additionally, having an estimated timeframe helps the employer anticipate what stage of recovery the employee will be in once they are cleared to return, which helps them create a modified position or if needed, adjust the employee’s regular job duties to match their physical limitations.

Medical Disability Guidelines on Recovery Times

It is important to understand that medical disability guidelines simply provide physicians, employers, and employees with recovery time predictions.  Usually, these guidelines offer a minimum recovery time, a maximum recovery time, and an average recovery time.  These time ranges are generally not universally applicable to all employee injuries.  An employee’s recovery will depend on various individual factors, such as the employee’s tolerance for injury-related symptoms, the employee’s ability to heal and recover, the employee’s motivation to return to work, physician-ordered limitations, availability of modified work.

Medical disability guidelines can be used to improve return-to-work programs. For more information or assistance with your workers compensation insurance needs contact the experts at PMC Insurance Group.  (877) PMC-COMP or info@pmcinsurance.com.