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Workers' compensation might soon cover behavioral treatment


Workers' compensation benefits in Ohio are often viewed as providing for medical expenses and lost wages when a person is unable to work due to a work-related injury or condition. This is undoubtedly accurate. It is also important to understand what workers' compensation does for people who have issues that are not as clear cut.

For example, if there are mental aspects that are hindering the ability to get back to work, then it is wise for workers' compensation benefits to address them. A new proposal will do just that for these workers so they are able to get back on the job in a shorter amount of time.

The new rule has been proposed and is under consideration by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Joint Committee of Agency Rule Review. If it passes, workers would receive various benefits such as being counseled or coached to get beyond various mental and emotional issues that are hindering their return to the job. That can include negative thought process, an inability to cope, an absence of motivation, and other behavioral considerations that stop them in their tracks as they try to recover.

With this idea, the worker must meet the criteria to be eligible. An example would be the treating physician stating that the worker is failing to sufficiently progress following the initial treatment and it is because there are behavioral problems. A personal encounter would be needed to ensure that the worker can understand and respond in a meaningful way to the treatment. This is not linked to psychological damage or mental issues, but the basic responses that are prevalent after a workplace injury.

This new rule, if passed, would provide workers with one health and behavioral session to assess the problems. Then there would be six hours in which there would be intervention. It would be done within a 12-month time frame. The treatment can be provided by many different professionals including physicians, psychologists, chiropractors and more. If it is approved, it would begin in the summer of 2018.

People who have been injured or suffer from a work-related condition that prevents them from working have access to many different methods of treatment through their workers' compensation benefits. Understanding what is available is a key to using it. If there is an issue with getting the workers' compensation benefits or maximizing what is available, a legal professional can help with a case.

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