Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Employer Interference & Disruption

Unquestionably, one of the greatest problems is employers trying to under-report, misreport, deny, and minimize injuries. Additionally, their panel providers become so invested in pleasing the employer.

Employers, both large and small, are often overly invested in minimizing an injury, asking the patient to work through the pain, access their private health insurance, or, in many case, simply stating that the employee_s injury occurred as a result of the aging process, the employee_s carelessness, or results from events outside the workplace.

When the injury is a valid, work-related event, this places all involved in care and rehabilitation in to position of having to convince the employer of the necessity of care and also the impact of the employer on the aftermath of injury.

In effect, the employee with a compelling work-related injury has four tasks immediately confronting him/her:

a. Determine the severity of the injury

b. Determining appropriate care for the injury

c. Determining if there will be chronic residual limitations

d. Convincing the employer of the need for care, modified duty, and emotional support.

Unquestionably, employers, in some industries, and with some employee populations, become burdened with amplified or non-existent complaints. Nonetheless, assuming a position in which all injuries are a nuisance, and all injured workers are a burden rather than a responsibility, complicates and prolongs the recovery period. It does not decrease expense but extends and increases the financial burden to the employee and the employer.

The solution? Ideally two-third of employers, with appropriate clinical and case management education can begin to understand their role. The employer can begin to identify how they may be creating the bulk of their own problems. For some employers, especially with changing staff or ongoing acquisition by other companies, these educational experiences must be repeated annually.

A nurse case manager needs to insure that the employer has access to this education. Another viable approach is to provide a series of meetings throughout the year in which employers can discuss their injury management approaches, concerns and policies.

Finally, it is often helpful to present to the employer one or more cases in which their standard, often constricted approach, has not limited but actually increased their financial exposure.

In summary, an educational program which involves actual case examples is often the most effective means of altering employer behavior.

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