Thursday, May 14, 2015


"I don't need someone to advocate for me. I need someone to empower me."

Becky Curtis was in a frightening roll over accident in Montana in 2005 when she fell asleep at the wheel. She was working and suffered a spinal cord injury resulting in partial paraplegia and intensive, prolonged (chronic) pain.

Ask her about workers' compensation, and she has nothing but positive things to say about the team that took care of her, and still is helping her.
Becky Curtis' car

Through vocational retraining Curtis became a pain management coach, and founded Take Courage Coaching to help chronic pain patients, those for whom pain management modalities have done the most any third party intervention could, enjoy life in spite of the pain.

Pain management, as Curtis explained to the audience at the Self Insurance Institute of America's annual Workers' Compensation Executive Forum yesterday in New Orleans, requires the patient ultimately be active in their own recovery, not a passive patient.

There is a psycho-physiological reality to chronic pain, that was explained by Michael Coupland, CPsych, RPsych, CRC. Coupland said that at the point where pain becomes chronic, which is when third party remedies no longer have an impact, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is highly effective.

CBT is about remapping the brain to redirect the signals sent by the nervous system and involves a concept called neuroplasticity - the brain is flexible enough that it can be, essentially, trained to feel differently.

There was an overall theme to the forum that underscored a key difference between self-insured workers' compensation programs, and traditional insurance models: focus on the employee.

Though there were sessions on marijuana, the changes in health care insurance, and other technical sessions, the overall tone was, take care of the claim and the benefits will follow. Other than the debate about self-insurance groups versus captives, there was very little talk about cost and expense; most of the talk was about how to better serve the injured worker.

I expected this from a self-insurance oriented forum. The mindset is much different from the traditional insurance model, because the self-insured employer has a much tighter, more involved interest: that injured worker is THEIR employee and they're working with THEIR money.

The insurance covered employer typically doesn't react that way because the insurance company is an intermediary with its own financial objectives.

Self-insured employers get it: the best way to lower your workers' compensation expenses is to treat the injured worker quickly, efficiently, thoroughly and with the best treatment (including CBT) available.

Notice I did NOT says the MOST treatment - that is a vendor/provider desire.

The BEST treatment means sometimes having to pay more than fee schedule. It means sometimes authorizing a couple of extra physical therapy sessions even though the law says you've done enough. It means having claims adjuster case loads of not much more, if at all, than 100, so adjusters can actually make a difference rather than spend so much time entering data and completing paperwork.

It means providing the tools to the injured worker that will empower her to overcome chronic pain.

These remedies are available to traditionally insured employers, by the way - they just don't know it.

1 comment:

  1. Number one when you siad private insurer you turn me off right out the gate. Private insurers here in WA state are cheating folks out of paying for the parts that they amputate..... intently trying to defurad workers out of the part they cut off related to OJIs. Not good folks at all. Were still waiting for the WA L&I to force Sedgewick and WAl Mart to cover a mans toe, that was amputed.... their not wanting to pay. But the state is on them.

    Now as far has this holistic healing BS.

    Have a friend take a seldge hammer to your hand and beat the hell out of it, then tell me how anit depresents, deep breaths, help you then?

    Also the next time you have diarhea, try mind effing yourselves out of that.

    This whole holistc purist breed agenda being forced down our throats is hypocrital of the folks doing it out.

    I was in the 12 step programs for years and even had 12 years sober before dealing with workers comp.

    But during all those years sober, I did not try and force my ways onto others as is being done in our care today.

    Folks have being ODing and taking opiates for centuries. Folks are not dying form the drugs or the guns today, its the injustice in our care and this stuck up fence of addiction discrimination that is doing more harm than good. When some one not being treated for their pain, harms themselves, or even gooes off on the rest of us. What good have we done then as a soceity?

    One sizes care does not fit all. and this war on pain meds, is BS. The patents have run out on these meds, so big pharma needs us all on these new expensive patened drugs.

    You see this behavoir modifiaction you speak of, many times includes these great new anti depresents, and anit phycotics, ect.... and anti seizurs meds. you name it, that we injured get put on in the name of saving us from kiling our selves, yet no one cares if folks are killing them selves or others out of the lack of pain controll, and this holistic purist breed adenda being force down our throats.

    While its awesome to hear that an injured worker got help and the system worked for her, on her catarophic injuries, but many others are not. The injusty likes to help a few, and pump them up like poster children, while the eff over all the rest.

    This is nothing but big pharma big medical and big insurers using the holistic movement, which is a good thing, when folks CHOOSE IT AS thier life style, to their advantage.

    I personally like a bit of both the holistic and traditional medician. And dont think that I should be force to choose one over the other in my care so as to apeeze an elite purist breed minority agenda being carried out through my work comp and hmo care, that folks then hide behind state med tort laws, from the injured ever being able to fight back against this purist breed nazi like agenda being forced upon us then big corporations raking in the dow off all the abuse, or good, in some case, the few that get deemed worthy enough and pure enough to care for.

    I put toghether 12 years clean and sober in the 12 step programs, but I never force my ways on to other folks as is being done in our care today.

    The behavor modification like to use the 12 step method, that has proven to only be %15 succuess rate..... why would any soceity want to base their care around a concept that has not been succsessfull. even though stucnch beleivers in it will never admit it to them selves, even though they profess to be based in being tue to ones self.

    Private Insures are hell here in WA STATE Stay way from priate insures and co.s that have them... it like having your empoyer be your insurer, your Dr., you parent, your judge jury and executioner all in one. That you can never fight back agaisnt.

    A purist breed elite war on labor, by many folks who have never labored in their lives. SAD.