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In the workers’ compensation system, medical case management has typically been either “telephonic” or “field.” But today we are seeing a third type: catastrophic international case management.

Telephonic case managers coordinate with the injured worker and treating providers without face-to-face interaction. Although some telephonic case managers are RNs and handle complex cases, often these case managers have less extensive clinical backgrounds and are limited to scheduling appointments and facilitating communication between the patient, the employer/carrier and the health-care providers.

The typical field case manager is a seasoned rehabilitation specialist (typically an RN) who lives in the local area and brings value to both the injured worker and the insurance adjuster by knowing the local medical community and understanding the medical issues resulting from the work injury. The field case manager helps the worker understand his injury and helps the adjuster (who often lives in a different city or state) find the most appropriate health-care providers. The more serious the injury, the more value a case manager can bring to the claim.

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