Working It Out: Recommendations from a Multidisciplinary National Consensus Panel on Medical Problems in Workers' Compensation

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Abstract

This article presents the recommendations of a national multidisciplinary consensus panel brought together to discuss the medical problems facing the troubled Workers' Compensation System. The process, organized by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, was needed because participants in the System seldom communicate with nor understand the other's positions. Altogether 119 individuals representing employers, insurers, allied health professionals, administrators, lawyers, legislators, unions, and physicians participated in a year-long iterative process agreeing on 38 high-priority problems, and developing solution papers for 14 of them. These papers were discussed at a workshop that generated 48 recommendations in 6 categories, including guideline development, temporary modified work, education, prevention, patient advocacy, and legislative and regulatory changes. A post-process evaluation by the participants strongly endorsed this process as an effective way to improve communication and urged similar state or regional panels.

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