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When an employee is injured and has a workers’ compensation claim, it’s crucial for employers and insurers to look beyond the employee’s physical and medical issues to address the injured workers’ mental health needs. Failing to do so could result in longer and more costly absences and, ultimately, return-to-work (RTW) failure.

There’s a complex array of psychosocial issues that arise with employees out on workers’ compensation, points out Sherri Hickey, assistant vice president–Medical Management at Safety National, a provider of alternative risk-funding products such as excess workers’ compensation, deductible casualty, loss portfolio transfers, and reinsurance. These include concern over being able to return to work, anxiety about losing their jobs, and fear of pain, whether real or imagined. “This is sometimes referred to as ‘catastrophizing’ — taking every pain, even if it’s minor, and exaggerating it to the point where they believe their life has ended with this injury,” she says.

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Joyce Anne Grabel

PropertyCasualty360

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