It Pays to be Nice: Employer-Worker Relationships and the Management of Back Pain Claims

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Abstract

Objective:

To quantify the influence that workers’ satisfaction with the firm’s treatment of their disability claim and their health care provider has on workers’ return to work (RTW) following onset of occupational LBP.

Methods:

Using a prospective survey on back pain, medical treatment, and workers’ satisfaction, we employ nonparametric and logistic analyses to see how satisfaction affects RTW.

Results:

Workers’ satisfaction with their employer’s treatment of their disability claim is more important in explaining RTW than satisfaction with health care providers or expectations about recovery. Dissatisfied workers have worse return to work outcomes because they are more likely to have time lost claims and are more likely to have multiple spells of joblessness.

Conclusions:

Workers’ RTW is more responsive to their satisfaction with how the firm treated their disability claim than with their satisfaction with the health care provider. Satisfaction of both types plays an important role in determining RTW.

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