No matter how safe the workplace is, injuries and illness occur. Georgia now has over 4 million workers >16 years of age and in the most recent statistics available, over 87,000 injuries were reported annually. In GA alone, over $1.5 billion in benefits were paid and this does not include the associated health care expenses! Medical costs now outweigh (60%) the indemnity costs. Also of note in GA, there is a shortage of qualified physicians that treat occupational injuries and illness as we have only one fifth of the recommended ratio of 1 MD/1000 employees. On July 1, 2013 GA enacted new law (GA House Bill 154)that increased slightly the weekly workers comp benefit, but capped the benefit for less serious work related injuries. Every employer with over 3 employees is mandated to have workers comp insurance.
Workers Compensation is an accident insurance program, paid for by employers, which may provide workers with medical, rehabilitation and income if an employee is injured or becomes ill on the job. Physicians are a key part of the workers compensation system as they are a pivotal point in getting the employee connected to appropriate treatment, focused on recovery, minimizing life disruption and assisting with developing a return to work plan. Providers often find themselves “the go-between” for the employer, carrier and injured employee. This program will not focus on the legalities or politics of the workers comp system, but on the provision of high quality occupational health by providers.
In this segment, Dr. Charles Cooley, a board-certified Family Practice physician who is an expert at treating occupational health patients through the workers comp system will discuss the basic concepts of the workers comp system, common types of workers comp injuries, special considerations when handling workers comp patient cases and tips for employers and patients in navigating through the medical aspects of the workers comp program.
Dr. Charles Cooley
- MD from Medical College of GA in Augusta
- Completed residency at Huntsville Hospital
- Board certified in Family Practice
- Affiliated with Northside Hospital, Cherokee Campus
- In private practice with urgent care centers in Canton, Villa Rica