When an employee becomes injured, it is up to the employer to file an Employer’s First report of Injury or Illness. The timely report of an injury is essential for the patient’s management and outcome, as well as for injury prevention in the future. According to an article published in World Neurosurgery, “the first report of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Angola reveals major problems with TBI management, road accident prevention, prehospital management, and loss of lives of young patients.”
Too often, managers delegate the job of filling out the form. However, delegation to someone who is not extremely careful can create numerous problems. Thus, it should be checked carefully prior to submission to the claim’s office and the state workers’ compensation commission, department of labor, or industrial commission. Therefore, this blog explores what a first report of injury is, how to complete it with reference to the relevance of five key pieces of information required (name, social security number, date of injury and type of injury), and the potential ways that digitising the process can reduce time, improve accuracy, and better integrate stakeholders.
What is a “first report of injury” in worker’s compensation?
An employer is required to file a “First Report of Injury” with the insured worker’s insurance carrier and either with the injured claimant or their representative. This can be filed either 8 days after the employee’s absence from work or on receipt of notice of occupational disease. The report provides information on the claimant, employer, insurance carrier, and medical practitioner, that is required to begin the claims process.
The report provides information on the claimant, employer, insurance carrier, and medical practitioner, that is required to begin the claims process.
An example of a first report of injury and how to fill it out
An example of the Minnesota Department of Administration’s First Report of Injury is below.
The following five key pieces of information are required to complete the form:
The employee’s full name should be completed accurately as it will be copied verbatim by the claims office and worker’s compensation commission (WCC). If the name is incorrect and the claim is reported by other parties, there is a risk that the WCC may be unable to locate the correct report and consequently think that the claim has not been reported by the employer.
2. Social Security Number
The social security number should be located from employee records. If a social security number is not readily available, representatives may use random numbers to get the form off their desks. This can reduce the accuracy of loss runs for the employer, which are reports that show the number of claims that were filed under your business insurance policies. If inaccurate, this can cause problems in identifying and linking insurance claims.
3. Date of Injury
This is the date the incident occurred and, in many cases, is also the date of the first medical treatment. It is important to enter this accurately as most claim management computer systems are programmed to reject medical treatment dates that occur before the date of the injury itself. This would result in more calls required to correct the information and would delay the claims process further.
4. Wage Information
The employer’s representative should contact the payroll department for the correct wage information. Entering a higher salary occurs more often than you would think because of employee absences. Even if the information is corrected later, the employee’s attorney will likely try to get a payout that is based on the first report of injury.
5. Type of Injury and Body Part Affected
If any of the medical information is exaggerated or diminished it will give inaccurate costs for medical treatments, an inappropriate request for time off work, and likely result in further inquiry.
Common examples of injuries that are included in the first report of injury are overuse injuries that are sustained at work. Overuse injuries occur when a motion is repeated over time. Common examples include rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, and stress fractures.
The first report of injury is important, therefore how can this process be digitised and thus improved?
With so many moving parts to the form, there is no doubt that there is a real requirement to ensure the form is completed both quickly and accurately, with repercussions all carefully thought of as mentioned above.
At Lightico, it was “found that while many insurers have made significant digital strides, paperwork continues to choke providers, and managing claims and policies remains cumbersome.” Electronic reports and signatures provide a management strategy in healthcare that can improve the efficiency of a first report of injury. As providers of electronic reports and eSignatures are becoming more popular, it is important to choose one, like Lightico, that matches your business strategy while complying with legal requirements.
By taking the first report of injury online, a company can achieve the following:
1. Reduce Time
Completing injury reports takes up a lot of administrative time and errors can result in back-and-forth conversations to find the correct information. The adoption of eSignatures can cut the processing time and therefore reduce the burden of cost of injury on the healthcare system. According to an NCBI report, a hospital’s radiology department switched to using eSignatures, reducing their administrative processing time for abdominal exams by 8 whole days.
2. Improve the Accuracy of Information
Hospitals and practitioners are often held accountable by law for their accuracy and completeness of medical records thus, documents are required to be reviewed and signed. Misinformation can have severe consequences on a patient’s health and treatment, so accurately capturing the first sign of injury does not only increase compliance, but it also ensures appropriate treatment of the patient, with important implications on patient outcomes.
3. Integrate Stakeholders
Electronic reporting can give all the stakeholders the ability to view and sign many documents simultaneously in a timely manner. If the document requires multiple signatures, the document does not need to follow a process of being signed chronologically by each party. This in turn again works to reduce time and therefore costs of injury on the healthcare system.
Therefore, the reduction in time required for paperwork and their associated costs provide a real benefit for employers to digitize their process. By improving accuracy of patient information, the patient has better outcomes, and patient satisfaction is improved. This allows the employee to return to work in good health in a timelier manner, further reducing the costs associated with employee injury. To learn more about Lightico’s eSignature, eForms, document collection, visit lightico.com.