Special Interest Section
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Who Should Join?
This is one of ACOEM’s largest and most active special interest sections with 395 members as of June 2015. The only requirement to join our section (other than ACOEM membership) is an interest in and respect for the subject matter, a desire for professional fellowship with others with similar interests, and payment of section dues! Y’all come!
- We seek to mitigate life and work disruption due to illness or injury due to any cause, as well as congenital conditions or aging, and we support the lawful and accurate administration of benefits. Our areas of expertise are work disability prevention, management of functional recovery and the stay-at-work/return-to-work process, and evaluation of work ability and impairment.
- This section supports ACOEM members in developing or deepening their expertise in relevant areas and provides education, training, and mentoring. Specific topics include: patient assessment and management of functional recovery as well as stay-at-work and return-to-work (SAW/RTW) decision-making, techniques for detection and management of delayed recovery, and accurate evaluation of the extent of impairment using methodology established for adjudicatory purposes, work disability policy and plan design, organizational dynamics, and techniques for effective communication and collaboration with involved parties in all relevant stakeholder groups in the SAW/RTW process.
- We assist ACOEM in communicating to outside parties -- other healthcare professionals, employers, insurers and governmental agencies -- the special expertise that occupational medicine specialists can offer in assessing and managing situations involving individuals whose ability to work has been temporarily or permanently altered due to a health condition, or whose fitness for a particular type of work is unclear.
- We advocate for:
a. inclusion of functional and employment outcomes (among working age patients) as evidence of the effectiveness of medical care for all specialties.
b. continued development and expanded use of evidence-based and standardized guidelines, methods, and technology to improve the validity, accuracy, consistency, fairness, and usefulness of physician evaluations and opinions on fitness for work, activity prescriptions, and/or extent of impairment to guide all parties involved in a case towards maximal recovery and productivity.
The WFD Section members communicate via a listserv on Groups.io. We allow all ACOEM members to join our Work Fitness and Disability Section E-Group. To join the E-Group, CLICK HERE.
The WFD Section offers an educational program and conducts its annual business meeting during the spring American Occupational Health Conference. Some section business is also conducted via our listserv: Work Fitness and Disability Section E-Group.
Members of this section have been instrumental in the development of ACOEM’s:
- Consensus opinion on The Personal Physician’s Role in Helping Patients with Medical Conditions Stay at Work or Return to Work 12/2008
- Support for adoption of a series of CPT codes for activity prescriptions and other WFD services.
- Consensus opinion on Healthy Workforce/Healthy Economy: The Role of Health, Productivity, and Disability Management in Addressing the Nation’s Health Care Crisis 11/2008
- Guidance document on Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed 6/2006
- Cornerstone Project to foster the development of relationships among ACOEM and payers, employers and workers’ compensation system regulators.
This section regularly sponsors educational sessions at AOHC.
Outside ACOEM, members of this section have been supporting legislative & regulatory reform in Iowa, New York, and Oklahoma, and are playing leadership roles in a variety of jurisdictions as part of The 60 Summits Project to propagate ACOEM’s new work disability prevention model across North America.
2019-2020 Section Leaders
Jennifer H. Christian, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Chair
Rajesh Kannan Ethiraj, MD, MPH, MRO, CIME, FACOEM, Vice Chair
Malgorzata B. Hasek, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACOEM, Secretary/Treasurer