DON’T LET YOUR WORKERS COMP ADJUSTER DICTATE YOUR TREATMENT OPTIONS
By Dr. Frank Scerbo, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS
Our mission here at Scerbo Physical Therapy is always to improve people’s quality of life. But we’ve noticed that many people who could benefit from physical therapy for work-related injuries don’t seek it, because they have misconceptions about worker’s compensation.
I’d like to dispel a couple of myths that will hopefully help more people find the care they need, in the location that works best for them:
Myth: Workers comp is only for people with physically strenuous jobs.
Fact: That’s a common but mistaken impression. While injuries on these kinds of jobs certainly qualify, this benefit is actually for everyone who is injured while working.
Some less obvious on-the-job injuries that may qualify for worker’s compensation are accidents, which can range from something as simple as tripping at the office or getting hurt while lifting a package, to having a car accident during a work-related trip.
And although many don’t realize it, those who suffer from office-related conditions, such as cumulative stress disorders, postural syndromes, carpal tunnel syndrome or neck pain could claim worker’s comp, as well.
Myth: Workers comp options are limited by state.
Fact: While your employer or adjuster may lead you to believe this, I’m happy to share that this is not actually the case. This is especially important to know if you live here in the tri-state area, where it is quite common to live in one state and work in another.
Many of our patients, neighbors and friends here in Bergen County and other parts of New Jersey have a daily commute that takes them across state lines. For example, we have a patient who lives in Edgewater but works at NYU in Manhattan. Another lives in Fort Lee but works for the transit authority in the city. Even our own affiliation with the Hospital for Special Surgery links our Edgewater-based practice to a New York facility.
Each state does have certain rules regarding insurance and worker’s comp. But what I want to emphasize is that people who get hurt while working in Manhattan do not have to be further inconvenienced by returning to Manhattan over and over for their rehab. They can come to a practice closer to their home in New Jersey.
Myth: Workers comp patients are limited to the practices designated by the adjuster.
Fact: While it’s true that workers comp is a unique system in which your adjuster does have some control over your case, most patients have more say in the matter than they realize.
Oftentimes, when someone undergoes surgery, the workers compensation adjuster will try to dictate who can do the surgery and who can do the post-surgical rehabilitation. But when it comes to the treatment of injuries, there are many areas of expertise, and it’s very important to go to the right type of expert for your particular injury — even if that expert is not on the adjuster’s list, and even if you have to be pushy about it.
It is crucial to find a high quality practice that suits your individual needs, even if the adjuster tries to direct you to a preferred provider. This is especially true in the case of post-operative rehabilitation.
To find the most appropriate practice, you’ll have to do some homework. Research your options online, read patient reviews and do some site visits. Find out who has the right experience to handle your particular injury. For instance, a patient would be able to infer from our affiliation with HSS that we are accustomed to handling complex cases and are highly experienced with post-operative rehabilitation.
We are also well versed in what needs to happen for workers comp to be approved. The red tape is not insignificant, but our experienced our staff can help make that process more seamless for our patients.
You only get one body, so I urge you not to take this lightly. Don’t let your workers comp adjuster dictate your treatment options. Take the lead, and insist on the best possible care.
We are always available if you have any questions or need assistance. Call us at 201-941-2240 or visit us at www.scerbopt.com. We are also on social media; follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, 725 River Road, Suite 60 (Marketplace), Edgewater, New Jersey 07020.