There are five things spine surgeons should consider when working on patients who are paying via workers’ compensation.
First: It might be best to do it in an ASC. Workers’ compensation cases often have better compensation for spine cases when they are performed in an ambulatory surgery center. A well-known spinal doctor told a rep that many of his workers’ compensation cases could easily be performed in an outpatient setting. These bolster the funding for the ASC and create a better relationship with workers’ compensation organizations.
Second: Pay attention to psychological concerns. Every doctor knows to evaluate a patient physically to get the best possible outcome for treatment. But that’s often only half the issue. Surgeons should look into the patient’s psychological health and motivation to recover, as well. Sometimes, it’s difficult for workers’ compensation patients to return work, due to psychological reasons and a lack of motivation. “We try to minimize exposure to workers’ compensation patients unless there is a motivation from the patient to get better,” a neurosurgeon said. Often, these patients have been on pain medication for a long time, which complicates matters further.
Third: Expectations influence outcomes. It had been discovered that a positive expectation for recovery is more likely to result in more complete recovery and a higher likelihood of being able to return to work.
Fourth: It may be best to keep it simple. Spinal fusion is not always the answer. One study shoed spinal fusions often led to worse outcomes for workers’ compensation patients. Most patients in the study suffered from degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or nerve root disease. These were compared to the results of 725 patients who had nonsurgical treatment for back pain.
The study showed 11 percent of the spinal fusion patients had permanent disability. Only 2 percent of the nonsurgical patients had the same. Spinal fusion patients were also more likely to need oploid drugs for pain management. About 25 percent of the spinal fusion patients returned to work – two-thirds of the nonsurgical patients returned to work.
Fifth: Make predictions. The company employing the patient has to set aside money until the patient is healed, to pay for medical care. Many physicians don’t like to make predictions, since they fear a mistaken prediction would lead to a lawsuit. Lawyers in Queens and Staten Island know, however, that the company will simply ask the physician to revise the prediction if the numbers are off.
Your compensation is important, not only to you, but to the family that depends upon you, or to your future. Make sure you are taking care of your needs by hiring a New York Spinal Injury Lawyer.