How Reporting “Report Only” Claims Can Benefit Your Healthcare Organization
Preventing work–related accidents and illnesses can reduce your workers’ compensation losses and ultimately lower your insurance premiums. It may seem counterintuitive, but reporting all claims – even those where no medical attention is sought – can benefit your bottom line in the long run and help identify opportunities to improve workplace safety. Reporting “report only” claims is particularly important for healthcare organizations where underreporting of workplace violence, needle stick injuries, and other incidents is well–documented.
A “report only” format alerts your insurer to an accident without turning it into a formal compensation claim. These types of claims serve three main purposes.
Establishing a Record
A thorough reporting history can help avoid questions about whether or not an injury occurred on the job. Proper documentation protects both the employer and employee (who may not be eligible for workers’ comp if they don’t report the incident in a timely manner).
Accelerating the Claims Process
If a condition worsens at a later date, you’ll have a record of the injury that can help expedite the claims process. Sometimes the extent of an injury won’t be known until a day or two after it occurs, or hazards in the workplace may cause it to worsen. For example, manually lifting patients can cause micro–injuries to the spine which, over time, can result in a debilitating injury. Or, the presence of bacteria and chemicals in the workplace can cause even minor cuts to become infected.
Improving Workplace Safety
Even minor incidents can help identify issues that might otherwise produce a major injury down the line if unidentified and uncorrected, as long as they’re properly reported and investigated. For instance, say an employee slips on a slick hallway and scrapes his knee. While the hospital first aid kit may have all the supplies needed to fix his injury, the next person to slip may not be so lucky. By reporting the fall, the employee is alerting his employer to a workplace hazard that can then be addressed before it causes a more serious injury.
Reporting All Claims
Some employers are reluctant to report what seem like insignificant claims for fear it will affect their premium, but it’s important to remember that high dollar claims cause more damage to your experience modifier (MOD) than small claims.
If your company hasn’t proactively encouraged reporting “report only” claims in the past, consider these steps to encourage the adoption of the culture:
Create a safety–first culture where employees feel empowered and encouraged to immediately report any injuries, no matter how small. (For tips on how to do this, read “Five Keys to a Successful Healthcare Workplace Safety Program.”)
Explain the importance of reporting any and all injuries during your annual safety training and to all new hires.
Make sure employees know you’ll support them from the time an injury occurs until they’ve recuperated. Return to work programs that include modified duty plans can help assuage any fears employees may have about not being able to perform their jobs.
Avoid tying bonuses to zero claims. Instead, reward safety–first behavior such as using proper safe patient handling techniques or reporting potential hazards.
Encouraging employees to report all incidents, no matter how small, can save your organization time and money, and ultimately, help you work toward achieving a safer workplace for all.