Workers’ Compensation Resource for Hawai‘i Employers / Volume 3 Number 1
An OccMed A Short Return to
Primer History of Work
The Way to Treat Injured Workers
H E M I C
Hawai‘i Employers’ Mutual
Insurance Company, Inc.
President’s Message CEO/President
JAS O N YO S H I M I
Vice President/Accounting & Budget
Vice President/Finance and Compliance
Dear Members. email@example.com
S TA C Y M I L L E R
In our work with our insureds, we at HEMIC spend a lot of time helping Vice President/Claim/Legal Services
employers to improve workplace safety by helping them to create a safety firstname.lastname@example.org
program and by offering free safety seminars throughout the year. Fewer C A R LT O N C H U N
injuries mean fewer claims. That’s good for member-owned HEMIC, good for the General Counsel/AVP
employers who benefit from better safety records which may translate to lower email@example.com
premiums, and good for the employees who avoid needless pain and suffering. C O N N I E FA R I A
Director of Underwriting Services
But even with the best of safety programs in place, and with the best intentions firstname.lastname@example.org
of managers and employees, accidents do happen. Part of what we do at HEMIC FAY E B U E N O
is to help our members prepare for the process of dealing with an accident Director of Administration
before a crisis occurs. After all, Loss Prevention is more than making a safe
workplace: it involves having a plan for getting the injured employee the best S H AY N E D O B B I N S
Director of Information Services
and fastest care possible. It also involves a good return-to-work program to get
the injured employee back on the job as soon as possible.
In this edition of HEMIC Connections, we take a look at Occupation Medicine: Director of Network Services
what it is, how it differs than other forms of treatment, and how a good
Occupational Medicine program may be right for your workplace. We’ll take a JOE BENEVIDES
look at how timely communication with your employees can help them get the Premium Audit Manager
care they need in the event of an accident. Because the worst time to be talking
about an employee’s treatment options is in the heat of a crisis when time is of RON TOGUCHI
Agency Relations Manager
the essence. email@example.com
I encourage our insureds to learn all they can about this exciting trend in MICHAEL REDMAN
AVP Loss Prevention Services
treatment for work-related injuries, and to learn how best to communicate these
options to your employees. As always, if you have questions about these issues,
don’t hesitate to contact us. At HEMIC, our policy is taking care of Hawaii. HEMIC Connection is published quarterly and
is a free service exclusively for policyholders
Sincerely, of Hawai‘i Employers’ Mutual Insurance
Q U EST I O N S & CO M M ENTS
Robert L. Dove Are there questions and ideas you’d like to
President and CEO share? Please write us at HEMIC Connection
P.O. Box 3376, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96801 or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
H E M I C C O N N E C T I O N 3
An OccMed Primer
When you have a toothache, you see a dentist. versed in the physical requirements of particu-
Irregular heart beat? Get yourself to a cardi-
ologist. But who do you call if you are injured
lar jobs. Because of his or her experience, the
OccMed physician can apply the right kinds of OccMed
In recent years, the answer is becoming
treatment at the right time for specific injuries,
helping to ensure a rapid recovery and return in Hawaii
increasing clear: an Occupational Medicine to work. The OccMed physician can also help
practitioner. Like Sports Medicine doctors employers to minimize occupational and envi- Several health care providers in
and clinics that focus on injuries sustained by ronmental risks in order to promote the health Hawaii now offer Occupational
athletes, OccMed practitioners specialize in the and safety of the individual and the workplace. Medicine programs. Each provid-
kinds of injuries that are suffered on the job. In recent years, a number of healthcare er offers a good all around pro-
Occupational and Environmental Medicine providers have put together programs that gram to help prevent injuries and
is the medical specialty devoted to the preven- combine the experience and knowledge of promote safety, to provide appro-
tion and management of occupational and OccMed practitioners, safety and prevention priate and expeditious treatment,
environmental injury, illness, and disability; techniques, and streamlined administration and to make sure all the proper
and promotion of health and productivity of and benefits to get the fastest and most appro- paperwork and administration is
workers, their families, and communities. priate treatment possible to injured workers. taken care of. Here’s how to con-
In practice, OccMed is concerned with the In most cases, an OccMed program is available tact these providers:
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries to all employees, regardless of their personal
and illnesses that occur at the workplace or as health care provider. KAISER PERMANENTE
a result of toxic exposures, stress, or accidents HEMIC encourages its members to find 808-597-5452
at the workplace. It encompasses issues such as out about the many new options for treating www.kaiserpermanente.org/
industrial hygiene, safety, pollution control, ergo- injured workers. hawaii
nomics, industrial and agricultural toxicology,
disability evaluation, and physical rehabilitation. CONCENTRA MEDICAL CENTERS
Because of the interconnectedness of health 808-831-3000
care and workplace safety, the occupational www.concentra.com
and environmental medicine team encompass-
es a great many members. In the workplace, STRAUB OCCUPATIONAL
it may include the company’s safety HEALTH SERVICES
officer, industrial hygienist, worker 808-522-3815
representative, management team, or www.straubhealth.com/
ergonomist. The medical part of the meddept/occupationalhealth
team includes nurses, physicians, physi-
cal therapists, epidemiologists, clinics In addition, HEMIC maintains
and hospitals. a list of independant OccMed
Of course, the OccMed physician practitioners. For a current
is a major player. Working with man- list of Ocupational Medicine
agement and other occupational and providers on all islands, visit
environmental health professionals, www.hemic.com/occmed.
the OccMed physician supplies expertise
in occupational risks and injuries, and is well-
4 H A W A I I E M P L O Y E R S ’ M U T U A L
Dr. Alice Hamilton 1869-1970
A Short History of
The protection of The history of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) can be traced back into
workers from disease or antiquity. Some of the earliest references to the modern discipline were made in classical
an accident is a recent times when increased rates of illness and mortality among miners were noted by Greek
development in the and Roman observers.
history of labor. In 1556, the German scientist Georg Bauer, interested in the pharmacological uses of
minerals, published De re Metallicus, a discussion of the dangers and diseases of miners.
His study was one of the first empirical links between job and disease.
In 1713, Italian physician Bernardini Ramazzini published De Morbis Artificium. Ramazzini
had devoted his practice to aiding workers and tradesmen. As a published author, he spent
much time in the print shop correcting proofs where he observed, “...the pressmen, have to
stand incessantly at work that is very fatiguing, for almost the whole body must be exerted in
such a task; hence these workmen inevitably suffer from lassitude and intense fatigue, and
then stricken in years are compelled to say farewell to that sort of work.”
H E M I C C O N N E C T I O N 5
In 1910, a new concept emerged: workers are
entitled to compensation for health impairment
and injuries sustained on the job.
But the practitioner who more than any compensation laws were passed in Illinois. pass both industrial and medical practitio-
other laid the foundation for the modern They introduced a new notion that work- ners. A number of organizations s have arisen
practice of occupational and environmental ers were entitled to compensation for health to help promote optimal health and safety
medicine and for the protection of worker impairment and injuries sustained on the job. of workers, workplaces, and environments
health was the American physician Alice Dr. Hamilton’s findings were so scientifi- though research, education and policy.
Hamilton. cally persuasive that they caused sweeping
Born into a prominent family in Indiana, reforms, both voluntary and regulatory, to F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N
Alice graduated from medical school at the improve the health of workers. Investigations www.acoem.org
University of Michigan in 1893. After accept- for which she is best known include carbon American College of Occupational and
ing a teaching position at Northwestern monoxide poisoning in steelworkers, mercury Envrionmental Medicine represents
University in 1897, she opened a well-baby poisoning in hatters, and “dead fingers” syn- more than 6,000 physicians and other
clinic for poor families in a Chicago neighbor- drome among laborers using jackhammers. health care professionals.
hood. As she acquainted herself with the fami- In 1919, Dr. Hamilton was appointed
lies in the neighborhood, she learned of their Assistant Professor of Industrial Medicine
The American Association of
pains, strange deaths, lead palsy, and “wrist at Harvard Medical School, the first woman
Occupational Health Nurses Inc.
drop,” and of the high numbers of widows. on the faculty of Harvard University, decades
(AAOHN) ensures occupational and
In the typhoid fever epidemic in Chicago before Harvard would admit female students.
environmental nurses (OHNs) are the
in 1902, Dr. Hamilton made a connection She served two terms on the Health Committee
authority on health, safety, productivity
between improper sewage disposal and the of the League of Nations where she investigated
and disability management for worker
role of flies in transmitting disease, leading industrial health conditions in other countries.
to the reorganization of the Chicago Health She published Industrial Poisons in the United
Department. She also noted that the health States, Industrial Toxicology, and Exploring the www.oehf.org
problems of many of the immigrant poor were Dangerous Trades. Occupational and Environmental
due to unsafe conditions and noxious chemi- Today, at the laboratory that bears her Health Foundation (OEHF) advances
cals, especially lead dust, to which they were name in Cincinnati, Ohio, and at other facili- the knowledge of occupational and
being exposed at work. At the time, employ- ties, researchers of CDC’s National Institute environmental health and medicine and
ers routinely fired sick workers and replaced for Occupational Safety and Health still to promote and protect the health of
them with new ones looking for jobs. explore the “dangerous trades.” workers through preventive services,
With little understood about occupational In 1970, the year that Alice Hamilton clinical care, research, and educational
illnesses in the United States, Dr. Hamilton died at age 100, the United States Congress programs.
published her first article about occupational passed the Occupational Safety and Health www.medem.com
diseases in 1908. She was soon a recognized Act, creating the Occupational Safety and Medem has created the nation’s premier
expert on the topic. Health Administration (OSHA), the National physician-patient communications net-
Dr. Hamilton became director of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health work, designed to facilitate online access
Occupational Disease Commission when it (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and to information and care for more than
was created by the governor of Illinois in 1910. Health Review Commission (OSHRC). 90,000 physicians, their practices and
It was the first such commission in the world. Since then, the field of occupational and their patients.
As a result of its findings, several worker’s environmental medicine has grown to encom-
6 H A W A I I E M P L O Y E R S ’ M U T U A L
of OccMed Programs
For both the employer and the inured
employee, a sound Occupational Medicine
program offers a great range of benefits in
terms of rapid and complete recovery and
timely return to work.
APPROPRIATE TREATMENT – OccMed
providers are specialists in all kinds of
workplace injuries and can often diagnose
and treat these kinds of injuries sooner
and with more successful results than
Return to Work
COST BENEFIT – Because OccMed providers
move rapidly to injury-specific treatment,
often avoiding unnecessary and costly
Modified duty can be a part of an injured employee’s diagnostic proceedures, the cost of treatment
treatment on their way back to full recovery. can be greatly reduced.
EMPLOYER CONCERN – By communicating
Employers want to get employees back to employee and with the medical team, a tem- treatment options before an accident
work as soon as possible after an injury. After porary assignment or reduced workload may happens, and by combining them with
all, the longer an injured employee is off the be able to get the employee back on the job a comprehensive safety and accident
job, the more his absence is felt. On the other without causing undue stress or risking re- prevention plan, employees know that their
side of the coin, most injured employees are injury. Most OccMed programs have specific safety and well-being is their employer’s
anxious to get back to work as soon they guidelines for creating such programs, and for
can. They may need to regain their full level monitoring the employee’s progress to ensure PAPERWORK – Workers’ comp claims are
of employment for a variety of reasons. But a rapid return to full duty. associated with specific paperwork that
even when employer and employee agree, When communicating with your employee is required both by insurer and service
the time may not be right for the recovering about their return to work, it is important to providers. OccMed specialists know the
employee to come back to work, or to work at emphasize your concern for their complete requirements for forms and record keeping,
full capacity. recovery. Employees should know that pro- often saving time and confusion during the
Making the decision of when the employee grams like Modified Duty help them to mini- recovery process.
should return to work is best made in con- mize their loss of income, to get back to their RETURN TO WORK – OccMed providers
junction with the injured employee’s medical regular job more quickly, and to maintain can often provide better guidance for the
team. If the team is headed by an OccMed contact with co-workers and their employers. scheduling of an injured employee’s return
physician, it will be more likely to take into They should know that Modified Duty is in to work. OccMed specialists may also be in a
account all the physical and mental require- fact part of their treatment on the way back to better position to recommend Modified Duty
ments that the return to work may put on the full recovery. Above all, they should know that programs to get employees back on the job
employee because it has full knowledge of the if they have any trouble handling Modified in a limited capacity.
specific requirements of a given job. Duty—or their full return to work—that their FULL ACCESS – Most OccMed providers
Even if the employee is not ready for full employer will quickly rectify the situation in provide services to all employees that choose
duty, employers can offer their employees a the employee’s best interest. to participate in the program, regardless of
Modified Duty program. By working with the their carrier of health insurance.
H E M I C C O N N E C T I O N 7
When an Injury Occurs
In the event of an accident, the employer’s fast In addition, the employer’s attitude can do much to
and proper response is critical. If the situation indicate concern for the injured employee, and help
is an emergency: to ensure a speedy recovery and return to work.
• Call 911 immediately, or get the injured employee to • Respond positively to an injured employee’s report of
the nearest emergency facility. an injury.
• Provide first aid if applicable. • Always allow appropriate medical treatment for seri-
If the injury does not require • Remain in contact with the injured worker until he
emergency services: or she returns to work. Assure the employee that
• Recommend that the employee seek appropriate he or she is needed back to
medical attention. Offer to make an appointment work and that you are look-
with a physician on our medical provider list. If the ing forward to a complete
employee has opted to be a part of an Occupational recovery from the injury.
Medicine program, help the employee contact that • Encourage the employees
provider’s clinic. return to work with modi-
• Transport the injured worker to the doctor or fied duty, if appropriate (See
hospital. “Return to Work”, this issue)
In all cases: There are a number of
• Provide the injured employee with the workers’ com- actions are specifically
pensation booklet that contains a description of ben- prohibited. Employers who
efits under the law. fail to comply with State
• Have the employee’s supervisor and/or the injured guidelines may be subject to
employee complete the Employer’s Report of Industrial fines and/or legal or punitive
Injury (From WC-1). Refer to the instruction sheet damages. Avoid
included in the claim kit. Also, complete the WC-14 the following:
report, if necessary, for wage verification. Contact • Delaying submission of the
HEMIC Claim Services if you need assistance. accident report (WC-1) for any reason.
• Provide the injured worker with the medical certifi- • Terminating or suspending the injured employee
cate form in your claims kit that will be completed by because of his injury.
the physician. • Prohibiting or delaying medical treatment.
• Notify the injured worker’s family. • Requiring the injured worker to seek care from a physi-
• Preserve evidence that may be significant in deter- cian on the medical provider list. Which doctor, clinic
mining the cause of the injury (defective equipment, or hospital to use is always the employee’s choice.
chemicals, etc.). • Discarding evidence that may be used to determine
• Notify HEMIC’s Claim Services of the incident, the cause of the injury.
including when the injured worker is disabled, and
Doing your best to help your employee is a win-win
when the worker returns to work. Claims should be
strategy. Your employee will appreciate your sincere
reported promptly, within 24 hours if possible.
concern on his or her return to work.
F R AU D HOTLI N E
If you suspect an employee or co-worker is
re ce iv i n g wo rke rs ’ co m pe n s at i o n b e n ef i t s
due to a fraudulent claim, call the hotline
t o d a y. A l l c a l l s a r e s t r i c t l y c o n f i d e n t i a l .
On Oahu Call Neighbor Islands Toll Free
Protect your business and your employees.
Report all injuries within 24-hours.
S TA N D A R D
U . S . P O S TA G E PA I D
PERMIT NO. 564
1001 Bishop Street,
Pauahi Tower, Suite 1000
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813
H E M IC
P.O. Box 3376
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96801
Island of O‘ahu:
Tel: (808) 524-3642
Fax: (808) 522-5510
Toll Free: 888 292-3642
Toll Free Fax: 888 686-5510