Is Your Disability Management Program Working or Should You Be Making a Change?

Having a solid disability management program can dramatically improve company productivity, reduce absenteeism, improve employee morale and ultimately have a positive impact on your bottom line. But not all disability management programs are created equal – some are more effective than others. So how do you know if your company’s disability management program gives you the best return on your investment?

Here are a few red flags to watch for that could indicate that it might be time to make some changes.

Employees are not reporting injuries or illnesses right away

Waiting to report a workplace injury or illness may not seem like a big deal, and there are many reasons why an employee might hesitate to advise their employer of a disability (denial, unsure of the process, etc.). But waiting can have a considerable impact on the outcome of a claim, affecting both the employee and the employer. Delays in reporting can result in penalties from the workers’ compensation board, and also delays accommodation and potentially treatment of the worker’s condition.

If your employees are not reporting incidents to you in a timely manner, it’s indicative that they do not know – or appreciate – your injury management procedures. Keeping all parties aware and accountable of their responsibilities in the disability management program is the key to success.

Accommodations aren’t appropriate

Getting an employee back to work is beneficial for your company’s productivity and the employee’s recovery. But if they return to work only to be off work again shortly after, due to reinjury or frustration with unsuitable modified duties, you are wasting your time and money.

An excellent return-to-work program needs to work with the employee’s abilities, and the employers must make suitable accommodations to ensure the recovering staff member doesn’t injure themselves further. Your program needs to be flexible and incorporate communication and case management to be effective.

There isn’t enough communication between managers and injured/ill employees

Timely communication is critical to the success of a disability management or return-to-work program. Employees need to receive information about the program itself – including expectations, responsibilities, and key personnel – as well as available resources from their employer that can help with their recovery. Inversely, those responsible for return-to-work should keep themselves informed of how their employees who are off work or preforming modified duties are doing; having a supervisor completely unaware of the status of an injured worker is a huge red flag that there is a problem.

Through communication, employers can also learn how to accommodate an injured employee best when they return to work. Managing expectations on both sides makes for a smoother transition.

You don’t know the return on investment of your disability management program

A good disability management program should have measurable outcomes. And if you don’t know what these outcomes are, you are not analyzing them carefully enough.

An employer can measure the outcomes of a disability management program through several factors, including medical and workers’ compensation costs, duration of claims, and the utilization of your return-to-work program’s resources.

However, to track success, your disability management program must have clear goals and benchmarks.

Contact TeksMed today

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your disability management program—or if you would like to have it reviewed to see if changes should be made—we can help. Contact TeksMed today.

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