Kristen Chavez | Pres & CEO WorkCompCentral Twitter @NchavezKristen

For a few years now, the workers’ comp industry has been talking about injured worker advocacy. I attend a lot of conferences and hear many speakers talk about injured worker advocacy, claim advocacy or doing what’s right for the injured worker.

I’m interested to know how various stakeholders are implementing advocacy for injured workers. Please reach out to me and let me know. As an industry, it seems like we are making good strides towards this, but I’d like to see/share more success stories on how we are actually making it happen.

  • What have you and/or your organization done to embrace injured worker/claim advocacy?
  • What is your process?
  • How did you get buy in within your organization?

How can we make it easier for this to happen across the industry? Should we build a road map for employers and other stakeholders to implement these concepts into their organizations? What other resources are needed?

I personally would like to do more to support this initiative. We do our best to incorporate injured workers and talk about advocacy at our Comp Laude® Awards & Gala event each year, but I’d like to make a commitment to do even more.

I think we should provide more education to injured workers. I’d like to provide resources to them to help them better navigate the workers’ comp system if they find themselves in a situation where they need to. I’d like to help explain to them:

  • What workers’ compensation is intended for
  • That it is a benefit delivery system
  • The system is there to help you get through your injury and back to productive work
  • You can’t support/raise a family on a workers’ compensation claim payout

Also, how do we battle the negative stereotypes of the mainstream media? On your next break, take a few minutes to watch this episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants titled “The Splinter.” It is riddled with common misconceptions about workers’ compensation:

Some of these misconceptions include:

  • employees thinking workers’ comp is a “pay day” or like hitting the lottery
  • workers are lazy and just want to milk the system
  • injured employee and employer are pitted against each other

To avoid the pitfalls these common misconceptions can create, perhaps employers should do a better job of proactively educating their workforce during the on-boarding process and when the employer/employee are still in the “honeymoon” stage:

  • Provide proactive training about what workers’ compensation is and what it is for along with other medical benefit systems