Qs and As About the Role of Physical Therapy
in Workers Compensation Injuries

physical therapy

Whether there’s an accident or not, injuries can happen to workers in the course of their employment. A workplace injury can occur to an employee due to prolonged and continuous use of specific muscles, limbs or body parts to perform a job. When a work-related injury causes damage to an employee’s musculoskeletal parts, or when an injured worker begins his/her journey towards recovery, the treating physician usually sends the patient to a physical therapist for rehabilitation.

Physical therapy is one of the many forms of medical services. It is designed to restore or bring an injured worker’s body movements back to normal. The primary goal of a workers’ compensation physical therapy is to help injured workers regain their prior functioning level and reduce the pain caused by the injured part of the body.

When an employee sustains an injury on a limb or joint, the treating physician usually sees a possibility that:

The patient’s range of motion or limb function is no longer the same as it was before the injury.

The injured worker will no longer be able to do normal tasks because of the abnormal condition the injury has caused.

The treating physician prescribes the amount of physical therapy treatment the injured employee may need based on the severity of his/her injury. When the treatment period is completed, the employee needs to see the physician to have his progress and recovery evaluated. Depending on his/her findings, the treating physician may extend the therapy, end it, or consider another treatment approach. 

Does Workers Comp Cover Physical Therapy of Injured Employees?

Pursuant to the workers compensation law, employers or their workers comp insurance carriers have the obligation to pay for medical treatments needed by an employee who sustains workplace injury. Simply put, any particular treatment, medical services or therapies the treating physician recommends for the recovery of the injured worker is covered by workers compensation as long as it is within the guidelines of the workers’ comp program.

However, employers and workers comp carriers are also given the right to exercise or implement physical therapy cost containment strategies to ensure the necessity, appropriateness, and value of treatments recommended. 

Rehabilitative therapy following a surgical procedure in relation to workplace injury is also covered by workers comp in most instances.

Generally, physical therapy for work-related injuries are covered for as long as the treating physician determines that your injured worker benefits from it and is making progress with the aid of that therapy. When the doctor determines that your employee has reached his/her highest level of recovery – workers’ compensation coverage is stopped and workers’ comp will no longer pay for your worker’s physical therapy treatment.

How Important is Physical Therapy to Workers’ Rehabilitation?

  • Physical therapy plays a major role in an injured worker’s rehabilitation program.
  • It works to restore a normal range of movements your worker may have lost due to workplace injury. 
  • Physical therapy reduces pain and stiffness caused by the injury
  • It helps to restore the flexibility, strength, functional ability and endurance your employee may have lost due to the injury.
  • Physical therapy facilitates speedy recovery and rehabilitation after a work-related injury.
  • It allows your injured worker to recover faster than just rest and medical care.
  • Physical therapy uses physical conditioning and education to reduce your injured workers’ risk to further injuries.

What is the Ultimate Goal of Workers’ Comp Rehabilitation?

Workers’ comp rehabilitation is basically intended to speed up the recovery of injured workers and facilitate their early return to work. This will have a number of benefits not only to your injured worker but to you as an employer as well. 

  • Restores your employee’s sense of financial security
  • Lessens the decline of job skills in your organization
  • Reduces the risk of depression and other secondary complications of workplace injury
  • Helps to protect injured workers from permanent disability
  • Helps employers retain employees and avoid the cost of hiring and training
  • Reduces time lost due to workplace injuries
  • Restores injured employees to productive status as quickly as possible and reduces workers’ comp costs
  • Instrumental in educating workers about the importance of workplace safety and enhancing injury/re-injury prevention
  • Gives employers peace of mind knowing that they are providing their employees with effective injury-related care.
  • Facilitates the implementation of physical therapy cost containment strategies to ensure that injured workers get the right rehabilitation at the least possible cost.

Workers’ comp rehabilitation does involve costs. But as an employer, your act of providing support for your injured employees through it are loaded with elements that can benefit your business. The physical therapy workers comp carriers find beneficial is one that quickly restores your employees’ productivity and reduces your lost productive time and treatment costs. 

Make the workers’ comp rehabilitation or physical therapy program simpler and more efficient. Let Direct Pay Provider Network do the scheduling, coordinating, and costs monitoring for you. Call us at (866) 214-5920.