Evaluating Disability Insurance Assistance as a Specific Intervention by Physiatrists at a Cancer Center

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Abstract

Because of their expertise, physiatrists provide disability insurance assistance for cancer survivors. In this brief report, we perform a descriptive retrospective analysis of all new (354) outpatient physiatry consultations from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2013, at a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. Disability and/or work accommodations were brought up at some point with the physiatrist during the duration of their care for 131 (37%) of 354 patients. More than 90% of the discussions took place during the first visit. Of those patients who had a documented disability/employment discussion, 58 (44.3%) of 131 patients were originally referred for disability assistance specifically, and 58 (44.3%) of 131 also had disability insurance paperwork completed by the physiatrist. Outcomes of initial physiatry disability insurance assistance were 45 (77.6%) of 58 approved/renewed, 5 (8.6%) of 58 denied, and 8 (13.8%) of 58 unknown/died during the disability application process. The median form size was 33 (SD, 25.95) items. This study is the first of its kind and provides an initial look at work-related discussions and support with disability insurance paperwork as a specific intervention provided by physiatrists at a cancer center. The results are compelling and demonstrate that physiatrists frequently provide these interventions. These interventions take considerable time and effort but are generally successful.

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