WSI sponsors summit
Workforce Safety and Insurance is hoping to adjust a paradigm in the workings of disability leave. With a tour of presentations in Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck this week, they hope to have a ripple effect within and outside the stat...
Workforce Safety and Insurance is hoping to adjust a paradigm in the workings of disability leave.
With a tour of presentations in Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck this week, they hope to have a ripple effect within and outside the state.
Presenter Dr. Jennifer Christian made a splash Thursday evening in Dickinson at the Days Inn.
"The underlying, unspoken assumptions in the traditional way of handling disability leave are that when somebody is injured, it's probably good for them not to work," Christian said. "Enough medical evidence has shown us that getting life back to normal as quickly as possible and staying active during recovery actually speeds the medical healing and it avoids the development of a disabled head-set.
"If you get somebody right back in the saddle and keep life as normal as possible, they're going to still believe they can do it, but if you have people stay off work for a long time, they tend to start thinking they can't or they might not be able to. This kind of self-doubt and uncertainty starts to take over."
Nearly 40 area business people and medical care providers met to hear Christian's presentation as well as discuss the guidelines brought forward by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine entitled "Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed."
The document was first published by the ACOEM in 2006. The solution proposed by the guidelines is the "stay-at-work/return-to-work" process.
This process determines whether a worker stays at work despite a medical condition or whether, when and how a worker returns to work during or after recovery.
Shortly after the guidelines were put together, Christian began the 60 Summits project to get the word out.
"It is essentially a project to take this guideline around North America and get the ideas of that guideline out in front of people and out into the real world and encourage them, if they like the ideas, to make them a reality," she said. "It's offering this guideline as a tool for them to build a shared, positive vision of how the stay-at-work/return-to-work process works. How doctors, employers and WSI and legislators and unions and judges ought to be aligned on the same page.
"What we want to do is have the best possible outcome for these work-related injury episodes. If you build a shared, positive vision of what you do want, then you get everybody to row their oar to get where we want to go."
The first summit was held in May 2006 in Oregon, followed by summits in New Mexico and California.
"I have to applaud WSI for making the investment to bring this idea to people who can use this as a grassroots level," Christian said. "I haven't seen this level of commitment anywhere else."
A link for the ACOEM guidelines can be found on the Web at www.webility.md .