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Return to Work Programs Are Good for an Employee’s HealthJuly 19, 2012
Return to Work Programs Are Good for an Employee’s Health
Implementation of Return to Work Programs over the years has increased among employers throughout the country, with many carriers assisting in setting an effective program to help with rising Workers Comp costs, healthcare expenses, etc. An effective Return to Work Programs program has mutually beneficial rewards for everyone involved: An employer can reduce his or her Workers Comp costs by getting workers back on the job, and will save by reducing the loss of productivity and having to replace a worker temporarily while he or she is out. For an employee, getting back on the job can get them “back on the horse” and feeling healthier.
In fact, according to studies conducted by the Institute for Work & Health, getting back to work after an injury or illness can improve the health of workers. The studies told a unified story of the health benefits garnered by a Return to Work Programs program. There were a total of 18 studies, of which 16 examined mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety and substance use, while five studies also included physical health outcomes. Some focused on women, others on men, the elderly, people with mental illness, people with HIV, refugees and the unemployed.
Fifteen of the 18 studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of Return to Work Programs on health, either showing a significant improvement in health after re-employment or a significant decline in health attributed to continued unemployment. The overall weight of the Return to Work Programs/health benefits link was “moderate evidence,” according to the review. Researchers also found evidence that poor health interferes with people’s ability to go back to work, as well as some evidence suggesting that earlier re-employment may be associated with better health.