This morning, Workers Comp Insider, the Grand Daddy of workers’ compensation blogs, published an illuminating post focusing on why workers’ comp claims professionals wait far too long to engage qualified psychologists. This, from the opening of Are We Only Paying Lip Service To Psychosocial Issues In Workers’ Compensation?:
It is a cliché in the workers’ comp industry that claims adjusters never want “to buy a psych claim.” Perhaps that’s why they rarely resort to psychologists until the horse is out of the barn and grazing four pastures over. By then it’s a last resort kind of thing.
The Insider goes on to say that claims payers and psychologists just don’t understand each other. It chides those claims adjusters who settle for asking only the basic questions suggesting that “digging deep” and
peeling the injured person’s personality onion to discover what really matters will allow for early detection of those relatively rare cases where speedy referral to a qualified psychologist might make all the difference.
We couldn’t agree more, yet lest we with the PH. D.s after our names begin to feel too comfortable, we come in for some sharp criticism, too. Most of us “know not even the first thing about workers’ compensation and give every indication of being proud of it.” Ouch.
The blog post suggests that we and the payers need to come together to build a system that works for everyone and that if claims adjusters are attuned to the subtle nuance inherent in a good conversation with an injured person, then perhaps certain signs will become apparent that indicate early psychological intervention is warranted.
Part of that coming together requires trust on both sides. The Insider suggests that a sign of trust on the side of the payers would be to adopt a policy that “entrance into a payer network should not be determined solely by a license to practice and the forced acceptance of a ridiculously low fee. Quality and results matter.”
Finally, the post tells payers that they have a whole lot of educating to do, education that should start today. Why?
Because identifying early and resolving quickly the factors that have the potential to turn physical injuries into mental health problems will save employers, the folks who pay the bills, a significant amount of money and adjusters, whose goal it is to put the toothpaste back in the tube, considerable otherwise wasted time.
That, in a nutshell, is why we created Workers Compensation Psychological Network. To partner with payers for the betterment of injured workers to build a better system – Sooner, Faster, Smarter.