Costly Medical Errors – Surgery Is Not Always The Answer

“Potentially preventable medical errors that occur during or after surgery may cost employers nearly $1.5 billion a year, according to new estimates by the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).”

“In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Health Services Research, AHRQ’s William E. Encinosa, Ph.D. and Fred J. Hellinger, Ph.D., found that insurers paid an additional $28,218 (52 percent more) and an additional $19,480 (48 percent more) for surgery patients who experienced acute respiratory failure or post-operative infections, respectively, compared with patients who did not experience either error.”

The authors also found these additional costs for surgery patients who experienced the following medical errors compared with those who did not: More…

Safety Programs – For a Healthy Balance Sheet

The quality of an organization’s safety programs forecasts an employees’ likelihood of entering the workers’ compensation system. The time and resources invested in enforcing safe work practices reflect the employer’s commitment, not only to guarding an employee from workplace hazards, but to protecting them from the hazards of our workers’ compensation system.

Carefully-crafted programs embed the standards for a safe workplace into daily operations. Successful programs begin with employee selection, protection of employees through training and hazard controls, engage employees in the process, and support the employee in their return to work, should they become injured. A safety program with this scope, protects an injured employee from a sometimes arbitrary and disabling workers’ compensation system.

Strong safety programs are the foundation upon which supportive and enriching tools can be provided to the injured employee. This is also the bedrock upon which substantial cost savings and productivity gains are built. Successful companies have already discovered the value of a strong safety program. In fact, it is rare that an organization enjoys high margins and strong revenue, in absence of a strong safety program.

Building a strong safety program begins with management commitment. If an organization lacks in-depth knowledge of workplace safety, or needs an objective assessment of their current program, a comprehensive review is in order. Proof Positive will develop a blueprint for safety program success.

Remember: Safety program quality is a proxy for balance sheet health.

Social Capital – Funding the Trust in Workers’ Compensation

The workers’ compensation system is filled with complex relationships and competing agendas. It can be confusing or even exasperating for an employee who must navigate this system alone. Employees need an advocate they can rely on while in the workers’ compensation system.

The employer must be that advocate.

By investing in prevention and early return-to-work systems, an employer can create social capital – the trust or ‘good will’ needed to maintain relationships – even in difficult situations. The key is to select a talented employee health partner. Proof:Positive can help you make these systems your own, by involving employees during every step. Engaging employees in prevention and the return-to-work process builds trust and shuts down the avenues for over-treatment and litigation.

Ask yourself this question: Do we give a F.I.G. about our injured employees? Use this mnemonic device to assess your organization’s ability to maintain trust when an employee becomes injured and enters the workers’ compensation system.


The Numbers Are In: Workers Compensation is Costly!

Each day U.S. workers suffer injury, disability, and death from workplace incidents. According to the CDC, private-sector workers experience 11,500 nonfatal work-related injuries/illnesses each day; more than half of these injuries/illnesses require job transfer, work restrictions, or time away from their jobs as a result. Among all workers – public and private sectors – 9,000 workers are treated in emergency departments each day, and approximately 200 of these workers are hospitalized. In 2004, this resulted in an estimated 3.4 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses among civilian workers that were serious enough to be treated in hospital emergency departments. The prior year those injuries cost businesses like yours $554 Billion.

The workplace can be a dangerous place. But it doesn’t have to be. Having a safety plan or team can reduce the risks of injury. Also having a plan for the worker that does get injured will help save costs and time loss for your company. You need to guide your company to a safer and more educated environment that will pay for itself in reduced workers compensation claims. A full-service consulting consortium like Proof:Positive can aid in reducing and preventing workplace injuries, neutralizing fraud, and saving valuable insurance dollars; our mission is to reduce your company’s injury and illness costs.

We can help. But don’t take our word for it, check out some of our client testimonials, regarding how well our services worked for them. 

Know Your Work – The Benefit of a Physical Demand Analysis

Successfully managing the return-to-work process requires employers to plug a gap in their knowledge. During our management careers, many of us have examined the supply chain, manufacturing process and distribution process. We think we know our business and the work that happens there.

We often don’t.

We don’t know what is required of the employees at the loading dock. We don’t know how difficult it might be to operate the high-torque impact wrench. We can only guess at the physical demands required to get the parts to the manufacturing line.

We don’t need to guess anymore. More…

Knowledge is Contagious – Give Your Employees the Forum to Learn

Many factors affect our health. Some are beyond our control, such as genetic makeup and age – but we can make changes to our lifestyle. By encouraging your employees to take steps toward healthy living, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other serious diseases. Obvious practices are to eat well, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and see a doctor for regular screenings.  

Incorporating these practices into lifestyles and routines can be difficult for those people who don’t realize their significance. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where your employees can learn this information while on the job and also have it available to your injured employees?  A Health and Wellness Room can help employees learn about a healthy lifestyle, which in return produces a healthy and productive employee. Knowledge is contagious and when one employee shares his knowledge about health or safety, it spreads to others.

Proof:Positive can provide your employee with a wealth of knowledge that will spread throughout your business. Proof:Positive can decrease your workers compensation costs through preventative measures or by educating the injured. All this can be done while they remain on normal payroll so lost time is reduced. Let us help you create a workplace filled with informed employees who are motivated to perform their duties safely.

Spinal Tap: Secrets That Back Surgeons Won’t Tell You

Low back pain is a universal human phenomenon. It affects, not just all occupations, but all age groups. In a given year over 80% of us will experience a bout of back pain. For about 50% of us it will be a memorable event. Between 10% and 20% will find the experience overwhelming. When employees suffer this predicament, they need support from the workplace to avoid becoming entangled in the medico-legal systems surrounding workers’ compensation.

An abundance of providers and products take aim at an employee’s back pain. Braces, mattresses, pills, therapies and surgeries are routinely applied to the aching back. Some of these interventions are ineffective, but harmless. Some are ineffective and harmful. None have proven to significantly alter the course or duration of low back pain.

Surgical stabilization has proven less effective than rehabilitation therapy for low back pain, as well as sciatica. Yet, spending for spinal fusions has increased over 500% in the last 15 years. Employers need not be duped into subjecting employees to ineffective or harmful care.

By providing a supportive workplace, the injured employee will recover more quickly, with better outcomes. Professionally staffed Health and Wellness Rooms offer exactly this kind of support. By remaining active, but within their physical limits, employees can experience quicker recovery from back injuries and return to work faster than employees exposed to surgical interventions. It’s a win-win for the employer and the employee.

I Have the Answers…But You’re Standing on Them

Can you imagine knowing how to lower your chances of cancer, decreasing the risk of heart disease, or having stress and depression, pardon the pun, a worry of the past? How about having a stronger heart, being more alert? Your wounds healing at a faster rate or even make your sex life a little steamier? Is it a perfect pill? No. You’re standing on the answer, or at least you should be. Get up and walk. There are numerous pieces of research that say exercise is the key to all, and many more, of these issues. Even small increments of ten minutes a day can help promote healing, boost your immune system, and decrease the stresses and risks of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and many other ailments. There is evidence that exercise can help you to recover faster and return to work earlier, easier, and with more success.

How Exercise Helps:


Evaluating Your Employees Work Environment!

Evaluating the ergonomics of your employees’ work environment means looking at what kind of work your employee’s do, what tools they use, and their whole job environment. The aim is to find the best fit between them and their job conditions, in order to reduce on the job injuries and create a workplace where your employees can be more productive. Examples of ergonomic changes to an employees’ work might include:

  • Adjusting the position of their computer keyboard to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Being sure that the height of their desk chair allows their feet to rest flat on floor
  • Teaching the right way to lift heavy objects to prevent back injuries
  • Provide handle coatings or special gloves to suppress vibrations from power tools

No matter what the job is, ergonomics plays an important role in preventing injury and illness. Take the time to evaluate your jobsite. Is it safe for your employees? Does it meet OSHA standards of safety? Develop a good training system to teach safety at work. Help reduce costly worker’s compensation from injuries on the job that are preventable.

Accidents will happen! But the number and frequency can be reduced. What program do you have in place for those unfortunate injuries that will cost your company or business money? There are so many hidden costs when an employee gets injured at work. It all adds up! It’s in your best interest to pro-actively reduce workers compensation claims, and reduce the costs associated with those claims that inevitably happen.

Proof:Positive understands the need for safety at work. But, we also know that some will get injured – and we have the program to help return these injured workers back to work. We keep track of all their doctor visits and track their restrictions. Also we educate them about their injuries to help prevent future accidents and time loss. Contact us and let us help your company save money and create a safe environment for you and your employees.