There is much discussion in the workers' compensation industry about injured workers reaching MMI. MMI, of course, for those of you who are new to the industry or who just stumbled across this blog while searching for free porn, is “Maximum Medical Improvement.” It is the point during an injured persons recovery that they are designated by a physician to be at their maximum point of recovery.
But what does that mean, really, both for the industry and the injured person? Reaching MMI for many does not mean that a full recovery has occurred, if “full recovery” is defined by the parameters of a person's physical ability prior to their injury. And Is "full recovery" always realistic? Can a full recovery be defined and pursued as something less than a person's former functional ability?
I suppose I am asking, “How do we manage expectations in the recovery process so that an injured worker is better prepared to adapt to the eventual outcome?”
What a great topic. We should schedule that for a Hot Seat Webinar. Oh, wait, we have.
(Pause for shameless plug)
The next Hot Seat Webinar, “Expectations of Full Recovery - Where Do We Place the Goalpost?” will be held on December 13, 2019 at 1PM EST. My co-host Judge David Langham and I will be discussing this topic with Attorney Jon Gelman, Sedgwick's Desiree Tolbert-Render and Psychologist Dr. Les Kertay. Registration is free, and Certificates of Completion will be provided to attendees that will include an Educational Outline that may be submitted for continuing ed credit requests. It is sponsored by Safety National.
(End of shameless plug – now back to the opining)
MMI for the workers' compensation industry today is the point that for many signals the end, or the beginning of the end of an injured workers' claim within the system. It is the point where the money discussions get real, and adjusters eagerly await the opportunity to clear their desk of just one out of many claims. For the injured worker, however, who has been enmeshed in a maze of paperwork, process and complexity for many months or more, they are often suddenly on their own, with little support and preparation for what comes after the claim is closed.
I call it the “Thank you, have a nice day, but don't have it here” syndrome.
We can do better. As part of that claims management process, we should be able to identify and prepare injured workers for the eventuality that will be their “full recovery.” Recognizing that full recovery will be different for every person, mental preparation for the inevitable physical outcome should be an essential part of the claim management process. This is about equipping workers left with permanent impairment with a better foundation with which to return to normalcy and a productive role. It is about getting injured workers to accept that “what was” may no longer be, and that they must start working from “what is” – which is the new reality of their condition at MMI.
Failing at that element means that the system is not realizing its full potential of what it should be today; a system based on “Workers' Recovery” (where have we heard THAT theme before?) that incorporates the bio-psychosocial condition and emotional needs of the worker struggling with a life altering injury.
This is good stuff. Someone should be writing this down.
Oh wait, I am.
The topic of defining and supporting what a full recovery should mean is an important discussion that we should be having. We have an outstanding panel scheduled for this next Hot Seat Webinar. They all have extensive experience in the industry and have strong opinions on the topic. I estimate that as moderator I will lose complete control of the program within about 30 seconds after introductions are complete. But the results should be worth it.
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
Bob has a couple unique personality characteristics. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to his (Bob's) opinion, and while he may not always be right, he is never in doubt. Enter at your own risk, and like all of our blog areas, we encourage you to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
We're not responsible for this guy.....
Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.