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A call to a nurse can save workers' compensation costs


One way to reduce workers' compensation costs is to prevent claims for occurring in the first place. Ensuring that best practices are used by your employees and that you provide the safety training and equipment necessary to create a safe workplace is essential.

According to one company that manages workers' compensation claims for business, the use of a "triage nurse" has proven very successful. The company has been puzzled why other service providers and insurance companies have not adopted their practice. 


The process uses a registered nurse on a 24/7 triage line to take the first call from a worker who has suffered and injury. The nurse is able to ask detailed questions of the worker and help determine the seriousness of the potential injury and whether the worker needs a higher level of medical assistance.

The company notes it is not a medical diagnosis, but because the nurse is a medical professional, they are able to identify those injuries that are serious enough to warrant a call to 911. The company finds only about 1 percent of the calls must be escalated to 911.

The workers benefit from speaking to knowledgeable medical professional who can provide genuine medical information when assessing their injury. One example involved a miner who complained of intense jaw pain. Few would suspect that such pain could be work related, and someone with no medical training may have dismissed it as nothing important.

The nurse speaking with him recognized it could be the indicator of a heart attack or stroke and recommended calling 911. He was having a heart attack, had heart surgery and his life was saved.

One recommendation for workers, however, would be to be certain to explain very thoroughly their issue, as the company will use the information from the call to limit the scope of any treatment to issues disclosed to the nurse.

Source:, "Pre-Claim Nurse Triage a Little Used Best Practice for Workers’ Comp," Denise Johnson, November 9, 2015

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