Athens Regional Health System
706.475.7000

Occupational Health Philosophy

Conservative Quality Medical Care

The most important diagnostic tools used at Regional FirstCare Occupational Health Services are the history and physical examination. Further medical testing or procedures will only be performed if medically necessary. Only medical therapies of proven efficiency will be employed. Specialty referrals also will be done only when the injury or illness warrants, and occur in only a small number of patients.

Communication

Timely communication to the employer concerning the status of an ill or injured employee is critical for your business contingency planning. It's our policy to communicate with employers as soon as possible so they can evaluate the need for worker replacement. In addition, recommendations for accommodated duty will be made at this time. Physical examination and drug screen results are also communicated in a timely fashion to allow employers to plan work schedules.

Early Return to Activity and Work

One of the most important principles of therapy for occupational injuries is that patients improve more quickly with early return to activity and/or work. This may often be accomplished in the workplace environment by allowing the worker to return to work with a temporary accommodation or modification. Accommodated work avoids the "disability mindset" inherent in the workers compensation system. If accommodated work is not available, the patient may be encouraged to begin early return to physical activity at home within the scope of their injury.

Case Management

All Regional FirstCare Occupational Health Services patients will have close medical follow-up to monitor their condition carefully. This allows early return to activity and work therapy. In addition, patients are administratively managed to decrease indemnity costs of workers compensation. Much of the expense incurred by the employer after a workers compensation injury is related to lost time and wages, not medical care. In many cases, workers compensation patients are only loosely followed and there may be a delay in return to work because of missed appointments and inadequate follow-up. Follow-up appointments and specialty referrals not met will be reported to the employer as non-compliance with the treatment plan.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Occupational Medicine is a preventive medicine specialty. All clients of Regional FirstCare Occupational Health Services will be informed of the preventive services available and will be encouraged to use these services when it is apparent that preventable injuries or illnesses are occurring.

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