What is occupational medicine? How can it benefit employees, and why should your employer consider implementing an occupational medicine plan if they don’t already have a plan?
There are many questions about occupational medicine, but not a lot of answers. Urgent Care Extra offers a plan to keep any workplace as healthy as possible – we recently launched our own Occupational Healthcare plan for employers – and we’re here to answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs), explain the benefits of having an occupational health plan, how these programs can reduce healthcare costs, along with other topics.
What is included with occupational medicine services? What is occupational health? Keep reading this beginner’s guide to occupational medicine for answers to all of your questions!
What Is Occupational Medicine – FAQs
Q: What is occupational medicine?
A: Occupational medicine (or occupational health) is a branch of clinical medicine that aims to promote employee health, reduce workplace injuries and fatalities and increase job productivity. On a practical level, an occupational medicine plan offers drug testing, job physicals, injury prevention techniques, therapy for injury recovery and much more. An occupational medicine plan’s ultimate goal is optimal employee health. Of course, accidents, injuries and illnesses will happen. And when they do, effective occupational medicine services help employees get back to work as soon as possible.
Q: What types of medicines are available through an occupational medicine plan?
A: This is one of the most common questions we get. Many people want to know if occupational health plans include actual medicine. Actually, they do! Urgent Care Extra’s medications include everything from Benadryl to Decadron to Toradol, and employees also have access to health aids and accessories like wrist splints, arm slings, back supports, walking boots and more.
Q: What kinds of tests will an occupational health and medicine plan provide?
A: A good occupational medicine program will offer comprehensive tests to assess and monitor employee health. This helps prevent injuries and accidents and helps avoid future accidents. This is particularly important with physically demanding jobs, where fitness and staying relatively in shape is necessary to not only perform a job correctly, but also prevent potentially critical injuries. Some of the tests an occupational medicine plan will perform include:
- Physical exam
- Complete blood count
- Comprehensive metabolic panel
- Thyroid stimulation hormone
- A1C test (helps diagnose diabetes)
Plus, additional tests and screenings can be ordered to customize employer plans, including:
Q: What about worker’s compensation? Is that part of an occupational medicine plan?
A: Depending on your occupational medicine plan, a worker’s compensation plan might also be included. Urgent Care Extra, for example, offers a worker’s comp program in conjunction with our occupational medicine plan. Some of the advantages of a worker’s comp program can include:
- EKG tests
- Injury prevention plans
- Injury recovery and therapy
- Wound care
- Burn treatment
- And much more
Q: Will occupational medicine services help get employees back to work ASAP?
A: Urgent Care Extra’s occupational health plan is designed to quickly diagnose injuries, provide treatment and therapy, educate to prevent future injuries and get most workers back on the job faster than they would without the benefit of a workplace wellness plan. Of course, every injury’s severity and recovery time is different. If needed, a worker will be referred to specialist care to promote a more rapid recovery time.
Why Occupational Medicine Is Important
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 5,000 fatal work injuries every year. Plus, there are approximately 3,000,000 on-the-job injuries annually in the United States. Given this large number of fatalities and injuries – and not all of these workplace mishaps occur in industrial job environments – implementing an occupational health plan is in the best interest of both employer and employee.
An occupational health plan can help reduce time away from work, including what are known as “DART” days. DART (days away from work, job transfer or restriction) time resulted in more than half of the 3,000,000 U.S. workplace injuries in 2014, the latest full year of data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typical blue-collar jobs, like rail transportation, agriculture and coal mining, produce higher than average DART time compared to other occupations, but the bottom line is that most jobs (blue-collar and white-collar) contribute to the surprisingly high days away from work caused by workplace injuries.
Aside from the obvious benefits of having an occupational health plan in the workplace, another advantage is total reduced cost. Implementing an occupational medicine program can help reduce the ever-increasing healthcare costs associated with poor lifestyle habits, both in and out of the office. Over two-thirds of employees exhibit poor health habits, which can reverberate into actual on-the-job performance and productivity.
Plus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an occupational medicine plan can help reduce disability claim costs, healthcare expense and DART-related time off by as much as 25%. When you add it all up, the numbers don’t lie – occupational health and medicine plans provide tremendous benefits for both sides of the employment equation.
To learn more about Urgent Care Extra’s Occupational Medicine plan and how it can improve employee health, reduce healthcare costs and increase productivity, please call our main office at (480) 988-9108. You can also visit any of our Arizona walk-in healthcare clinics to discuss our Occupational Health plan. We look forward to hearing from you!