The numbers don't lie. Mental health claims are on the rise. The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that one in five Canadians will experience mental health related issues this year. This problem is estimated to cost $20-billion a year in workplace losses. Additionally a recent WSIAT decision (Decision 483/11) expanded the scope of mental health claims benefits entitlement, so now more than ever employers should be re-evaluating their claims management processes to reduce costs.
The return to work process for workplace injury claims and mental health claims can be a tricky process to navigate. As an employer, you want to manage your costs effectively and minimize the impact of delays on your NEER statement. Quite often employers become frustrated with vague doctor's notes from the employee's physician that do not indicate when an employee can return to work, but only indicate that simply more time off is required.
As Laura Williams, a Human Resources Lawyer at Williams HR Law states in a recent article in the March/April 2012 HR Professional: "Employers should be aware that legislative obligations entitle them to request that the employee provide more detailed medical information." This entitlement stems from the employer's obligation to accommodate as required by federal and provincial human rights legislation.
Medical management empowers your organization and put's you in the driver's seat rather than waiting on WSIB or the worker's physician for answers. Introducing an objective independent medical consultant early on in the process to obtain accident history, ongoing treatment plans, and discuss modified duties is an effective way to manage these complicated claims. This person can drive the RTW process by connecting with treating practitioners, following up with the worker, identifying need for independent medical assessments, assist with challenging board decisions as necessary with medical opinion and ultimately reduce lost time and costs.
If you choose not to utilize a medical consultant, remember that as an employer you are still entitled to request more detailed medical information beyond a typical short doctor's note. To assess whether you can accommodate an employee's return to work you are entitled to:
Be proactive and you will see a faster recovery and resolution of the claim, and reduce your WSIB mental health claims costs in the process.
Join us Thursday April 19th in Mississauga for Handling a WSIB Mental Health claim where we discuss recent trends in WSIB mental health claims, strategies for finding an independent medical consultant, and monitoring a return to work plan to ensure successful return to work.
We'd love to connect with you!
Clear Path Employer Services
295 Thompson Drive, Unit 2
Cambridge, Ontario N1T 2B9
T: (519) 624-0800
T: (888) 336-0950
F: (519) 624-0860
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