We appreciate the time and sacrifices made by our veterans. We want them treated the best just as any other employee would be; however, there are potential pitfalls when seeking work-related injury treatment that is not a commonly known issue. Recently, StaffScapes has seen an increase in veterans seeking treatment for work-related injuries from the VA, rather than informing their employer about the injury and seeking medical treatment through workers compensation.
There are differing reasons for this. Many vets go straight to the VA because it is what they are accustomed to, because they believe that all treatment will be provided through the VA, or they do not want to present a hassle to their employer’s for having to pay for it. Some states are monopolistic for workers compensation, so VA hospitals can treat work-related injuries entirely; however, for non-monopolistic states such as Colorado, the VA treats only up until a certain amount. If it’s a work-related injury, and more invasive, expense-heavy treatments are needed, those receiving treatment will then be directed to seek treatment through worker’s compensation. The employee then faces starting treatment over through an occupational medicine clinic. The employer could face fines for late reporting.
We as employers need to help adjust this mindset with employees who are Vets. Training all employees about the proper procedures for work-related injuries allows injured workers to get the proper and timely treatment necessary for recovery, which enables a quicker return to work. Every employee should report injuries to their supervisor/manager the same day it occurs, preferably no later than 24 hours from time of injury. They should not go through the VA or personal doctors for treatment.
Once the injury is reported, then it is essential to direct them to one of the four designated providers for your company. This ensures they are seeking medical treatment at a provider picked by your company. These providers will prioritize treatment properly and ensure you are kept in the loop about treatment and possible restrictions.
When directing Veterans with work injuries, ensure you maintain the same process as with any employee. It is essential to get injured workers treated appropriately through worker’s compensation with a designated provider. You will mitigate your company’s potential for liability and unnecessary expenses as well as provide correct and timely care for your employees.