Role of health-care providers in the workers' compensation system and the return-to-work process: final report

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Published: December 2016

by: Kosny A, Lifshen M, Tonima S, Yanar B, Russell E, MacEachen E, Neis B, Koehoorn M, Beaton DE, Furlan AD, Cooper J

Health-care providers can play an important role in the return to work (RTW) of injured workers and in disability management processes at workers’ compensation boards in Canada. As part of the workers’ compensation process, health-care providers are often asked to provide information about an injured worker’s condition and the work-relatedness of his or her injury or illness. They are responsible for informing workers’ compensation boards about the severity of a worker’s health problem and what type of treatment a worker needs. They also give recommendations about a worker’s ability to return to work.

Studies suggest health-care providers can struggle with managing RTW consultations, especially when injuries are more complex. Time pressures, administrative challenges and limited knowledge about a patient’s workplace can thwart active engagement. This report shares the findings of a two-year study that focused on health-care providers’ experiences within four Canadian workers’ compensation systems and their role in return to work after injury or illness.