Experts Offer Innovative Ways America Can Reduce the Billion Dollar Workers Comp Crisis
Start by Short-Circuiting Worker Injuries Before They Reach “Creeping Catastrophic” Stage
NEW YORK, NY, Jun 18, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — Addressing the billion-dollar U.S. workers compensation crisis plaguing both the labor force and the healthcare industry, a panel of experts asserted that the system needs to embrace more innovative offerings that show promise in helping patients return to work more quickly and effectively. In particular, they called for a break from dependence on prescription drugs and other pain-masking treatments. The discussion, sponsored by ZetrOZ, Inc., featured experts with deep experience in workplace injury, health care, insurance and pain management.
The panelists agreed the nation’s workers comp system has grown unwieldy and ineffective, with five percent of all claims — characterized as “catastrophic” or “train wreck” cases — accounting for 75 percent of all costs. Further, they said, the system is weighed down by a “prescription painkiller” paradigm, even though medical evidence shows the ineffectiveness of opiate pain relievers, which are badly overused. They also noted that passive physical therapy and surgical intervention often do little to cure an injury or help a patient return to work and other normal activities.
The panel, moderated by Michael Shor, MPH, Managing Director at Best Doctors Occupational Health Institute, took place on Wednesday, June 10 at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Expert panelists included Dr. Ralph Ortiz, Director of the N.Y. State Pain Society and founder and director of Medical Pain Consultants; Robert Woods, Senior Vice President of Energi, Inc.; David Cohen, executive vice president at Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc.; and Dr. Gerard Malanga, a Rutgers University clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and medical director of Horizon Casualty Services.
“The system is failing,” reported Dr. Malanga, “The medical and insurance communities must look to embrace new treatment protocols and expand the definition of evidence-based medicine. We should consider using novel technologies such as sustained acoustic medicine which has shown impressive effectiveness for soft-tissue injuries, the most common form of workplace injury.”
Other recommendations from the panel included:
- Provide early and unique intervention strategies. Medical evidence shows that patients with pre-injury bio-psycho-social risk factors such as poor social relationships, smoking histories and workplace dissatisfaction are at substantially greater risk for poor therapeutic outcomes than the general population.
- Treat patients strategically and early (within six weeks instead of the current standard of three months), with the best therapeutic courses possible.
- Invest in “wellness” rather than sickness. Identify “at risk” workers early through screenings, increased personal contact at work, and health programs that encourage patients to be active stewards of their own care.
- Collaborate to create and implement disruptive solutions. Insurance carriers, medical professionals, employers and employees must work together to assess new innovative approaches, share knowledge and combine forces to advance progress.
“The focus on drug-free, non-invasive solutions in the battle against chronic pain is a key driver of our product development so that we bring real change to the healthcare marketplace,” said ZetrOZ co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. George K. Lewis. “We are dedicated to improving patient outcomes in the most cost-effective way and are currently working with worker’s compensation experts, other insurers, and providers to demonstrate the efficacy of our products. As we seek winning solutions, the only ‘losers’ will be those stuck in the old paradigm that has proven to be ineffective and cost-prohibitive.”
A white paper on the panel recommendations will be produced and available shortly.
About ZetrOZ, Inc. ZetrOZ, Inc. develops wearable bioelectronic devices for the delivery of sustained acoustic medicine, a new treatment form. Built on a proprietary miniaturized ultrasound platform designed for the treatment of acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, ZetrOZ devices are clinically proven to enhance tissue recovery, accelerate the body’s natural healing processes, and relieve pain. Since the company’s founding in 2009, ZetrOZ has successfully applied this innovative technology to the development of two products now available on the market: sam Professional System, an FDA approved device, and UltrOZ(TM) Elite for the maintenance and rehabilitation of equine athletes. For more information, visit www.zetroz.com.
SOURCE: ZetrOZ, Inc.
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