“No single injury management relationship is more important than the one established with the occupational clinic.” That’s a phrase workers’ compensation professionals keep saying, but do we really understand how to make the occupational clinic relationship work? What are the key advantages to building a relationship with the occupational clinician and how do we move that experience from good to great? What can occupational physicians do to change the way workers’ compensation stakeholders view their importance in the injury management process?

Most employers and injured workers view the occupational clinician as the “workers’ comp doctor.” This implies that the physician is working for the employer or the insurance carrier. It also creates a negative view of the medical treatment provided at the clinical setting.

“We have to dispel the myth that occupational medicine is not quality medicine,” said Dr. Richard Spirer, medical director for Physician Health Centers. “There is an underlying perception that the medical care is different because we are treating workers’ compensation injuries. The fact is that we are trained and qualified physicians who happen to be treating injured employees.”

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