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Caring for the Injured Worker: Effective Partnerships between Clinicians, Health Centers, and Lawyers

Presenters: Brent L Provinsky, Esq. and Ed Zurroweste, MD. High risk occupations, lack of access to health care, and numerous other barriers significantly impact the health of migrant workers. The management of work related injuries and exposures does not have to rest solely on the shoulders of the primary care clinical team. In many cases, effective medical/legal partnerships can successfully assist with access to care and improve the long-term health outcomes. Many migrants who are injured on the job, are eligible to receive medical treatment and replacement wages lost for work time. There are also benefits available to those who are permanently disabled or the family members of workers who die on the job. These benefits can be extremely helpful to the injured worker and family members. In many cases, these benefits can also provide revenue for health centers. However, while rates vary from state to state, overall use of this system by migrants and migrant clinicians remains low. Often migrants are reluctant to file a claim, even if they are eligible, for fear of retaliation. Others do not see the doctor they want or receive permission to stay off work long enough to recuperate. Many primary care clinicians do not accept these cases because they are wary of becoming involved in an unfamiliar area.

Speakers will offer practical information for using the workers compensation system as well as legal avenues available to injured workers through a series of case studies. The webinar will explore how migrant clinicians can work collaboratively with legal advocates to help their patients secure these benefits. Topics to be addressed will include: helping migrant clinicians to identify which of their patients are eligible for workers compensation coverage; how to complete reports and secure reimbursement; helping patients navigate the system, etc. Practical case studies will be presented by a primary care clinician with extensive practical experience caring for injured farmworkers and a legal expert with extensive expertise in helping injured migrant workers obtain benefits and settlements.

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