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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

INJURED WORKER WAS OFF FOR 4 YEARS, BUT PLACED BACK TO WORK IN LESS THAN 4 MONTHS!

Caroline Ward-Kniaz is wrapping up work on a file in which the Injured Worker (IW) sustained a right shoulder rotator cuff injury in 2008 working as a non-union plumber.  The file was initially referred to TRIUNE Health Group 2 ½ years post injury, was closed for additional surgery and then re-opened in the fall of 2012.  At the time of the re-opening the IW had been off work for more than 4 years.  The Injured Worker was 46 years of age and possessed a high school diploma.  Work experience was limited to plumbing and work as a concrete cutter.

The IW was in Job Placement for less than 4 months.  Caroline provided the IW with Job Seeking Skills Training (JSST), performed mock interviewing several times and assisted him in the preparation of a resume.  Caroline “prepped” with the IW before every interview he had and then followed up with him to go over the questions he had been asked to better prepare him for subsequent interviews.  The IW was open to the assistance and frequently contacted Caroline for additional help.

Caroline provided the IW with many job leads in addition to those that he obtained on his own.  One of those leads was for an assembly job at a manufacturing facility.  The IW had to interview with several staff persons to get the job.  He passed the physical and was offered the job paying $12.00 per hour with a benefit package.  The IW committed to Caroline that her assistance helped him feel prepared to interview and he noted that he was happy to be working again.

Caroline worked this file very aggressively.  The total cost for all of her involvement on this file was just over $11,000.  Caroline and TRIUNE Health Group would welcome the opportunity to assist you with your Vocational Rehabilitation needs.  We can be reached at 800/633-0884.

I asked a colleague at work once what the weather forecast was for the following day.

His answer was a “How should I know?”, a shrug and a facial expression that made it seem like I had asked him to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity on the spot. He obviously is not one of those people who care much about tomorrow’s weather.

About a month later, I was minding my own business, when I heard the same individual talking to another colleague. The latter mentioned something about weather and, as if touched by a magic wand, the former proceeded to tell him the exact weather forecast for the next week, complete with temperature highs and lows. I was baffled.

I confronted him on the matter, bringing to his attention in a sort of joking matter the obviously contradictory attitudes and asking the reason. His answer was simple.

“I’m on vacation next week.”

Little things are a big deal. Attentiveness makes a huge difference. When hunting for a car it can mean saving thousands of dollars. When applied to health it can mean life or death. When dating someone it can be the rise or fall of a relationship.

Some people are attentive by temperament. They just notice everything that is going on around them. That can be a good thing although when taken too far it can also become an obsession.

But more often it’s a habit that needs to be formed. It’s not enough to say “I want to be attentive”. Attentiveness is normally a two-piece deal: we are attentive to the things we want to be attentive to.

The observation training that snipers go through is impressive.  An Army Ranger Sniper details one training exercise called the KIMS game:

“...they would put different objects on the table: a bullet, a paper clip, a bottle top, a pen, a piece of paper with something written on it -- 10 to 20 items. You'd gather around and they'd give you, say, a minute to look at everything. Then you'd have to go back to your table and describe what you saw. You weren't allowed to say "paper clip" or "bullet," you'd have to say, like, "silver, metal wire, bent in two oval shapes." They want the Intel guys making the decision [about] what you actually saw.

As time goes by, students are given more objects to look at and less time to look at them. To add to the challenge, the time between seeing the objects and reporting what they saw gets longer as the course goes on. By the end, they may see 25 objects in the morning, train all day, and then at night be asked to write down descriptions of all the things they saw.

Another observation game happens in the field with a sniper scope. According to an Army Ranger Sniper:

“What they would usually do was hide things in a field, and you would just line up and have a certain amount of time to find them. There might be the tip of a pen hanging up out of the grass. You'd just have to look at every area in that field, you know, put your scope on it and just stare at it for a  couple minutes, and move it over, stare at the next spot for a couple minutes. ,Basically, after a while, you do get really good where you can just pick these things out easy. You'd just look for things in the field that didn't add up.”

So when’s the last time you saw the tip of a pen hanging up out of the grass? A sniper sees that because he is looking for that. That’s a training exercise, but someday his life or the success of his mission will rely on that acquired skill.

There are so many things that we don’t notice in our lives because we are not really interested. Looking at what we said before, when we are speaking about material things, attentiveness definitely has a lot of perks: money, efficiency, health, opportunities, etc.  But talking about relationships, attentiveness is even more important. It’s about valuing the person you’re dealing with. When we start to care about others, we start to notice. Love grows in leaps and bounds through details. For love, no detail is too small.

Are you an attentive person? Think of your family and your workplace. What does each family member like to talk about? How do they express their feelings? Do you know what your closest colleagues like to eat? Could you say who has had a tough day in the last week?

Convince yourself that you really do care about others. You want to notice things so as to better know and understand them. And the more you do that, the more you can help and love them. You may find that you become aware of a lot of pen tips out there in the grass. Not because they weren’t there before, but because you started looking.
TRIUNE Nurses Seeking the Best Help and the Best Price
  
A Medical Case Management Cost Savings Success

TRIUNE Health Group's Nurse Case Manager, Angela Sexton, who is also a Certified Rehabilitation Nurse, as well as a Certified Case Manager, recently negotiated and lessened the cost of medical equipment at a great savings to her customer, while still providing the best for her Injured Worker's (IW's) needs. 

According to standard procedure, Angela ordered a bone growth stimulator for the IW who needed a spinal fusion.   The preferred Durable Medical Equipment (DME) vendor of record quoted a price of $4,671.00, to which Angela requested a discount.  When told that the price was not negotiable, she inquired about pricing according to brand name, and was also told that there was no difference in price between brands.

Angela said she knew that cost did vary according to brand name and requested approval from the Adjuster on the file, to change vendors.  She received authorization to contact other vendors and was authorized to order the bone growth stimulator from the vendor that she considered the best.  Angela negotiated a price of $3,526.92, a savings of $1,144.08, with a new vendor who provided a quick response and excellent customer service. This was a 25% savings!

Angela Sexton and other TRIUNE Health Group Nurse Case Managers consistently offer these same excellent Medical Case Management services resulting in successful cost saving outcomes.

Let us help you manage your next Workers' Compensation file, and experience the TRIUNE Health Group Nurse Case Manager difference!
I WANT TO TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS

Amanda Ortman, a Vocational Consultant with the TRIUNE Health Group Vocational Department just reported that she is wrapping up work on another file that has resulted in a Job Placement.  This case involved a 39 year Injured Worker (IW) who was employed as a Union Painter at the time of his back injury.  He was referred for Job Placement services three years post his injury date with restrictions that fell between a light and medium duty level.

The IW had no additional work experience outside of painting.  He was a high school graduate.  He lived in rural Indiana was going through a divorce and was the sole caregiver for four dependent children.  He could only work days.  He expressed a strong desire to RTW, but was apprehensive about the process and being able to make a living post-injury.

Amanda worked with the IW over a 6 month period.  She met with the IW on a weekly basis. Aside from putting together a Rehabilitation Plan and providing Job Seeking Skills Training (JSST), Amanda provided on-going guidance on where to look for work, tailored the IW’s resume repeatedly to suit each job he was applying for and provided him with a large number of job leads.  Amanda completed multiple mock interviews with the IW as he was very uncomfortable in this area since he had not had to look for, or interview for work in a long time and had primarily worked out of/through the Union Hall.  Amanda provided him a lot of supportive counseling as he felt rejected on many occasions when he was not hired and he needed the additional “at-a-boys” to remain focused and motivated.

The IW secured a full-time position as a parts painter paying an hourly wage of $17.00 per hour.  In addition to this “secured” job the IW has an additional interview for a Union Painter position inside a hotel chain that reportedly is within his restrictions and would obviously pay a Union scale wage.

With TRIUNE Health Group’s and Amanda’s assistance, this IW is going to be able to RTW, take care of his family and be a productive member of society again.  We are grateful to the Adjuster on this case who saw the merits of providing Vocational Services.  We would welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you as well on your next referral.  Please feel free to contact Stephen Sprauer, Vocational Services Manager at 800/633-0884 to discuss your Vocational Services needs.