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As disability claims specialists, we are all familiar with the drill. We call the doctor’s office and then are asked to fax a request to get medical documentation on a claimant. We wait for several days, sometimes even weeks, before calling again to follow up on the request. Once the documents finally arrive, we find ourselves reviewing brief office visit notes with little commentary on functionality and that rarely include any reference to ability to return to work. And, because the treating physician’s opinion is paramount in many aspects of the disability claim decision, we must often try to find creative ways to obtain the information we need.
In a world where “busy-ness” rules, are there places where we could bridge this gap? We know claims staff have many files to juggle, and physicians and their offices struggle to keep up with incoming calls and requests for patient information. Other than from physicians, who see their patients infrequently, is there a way to obtain accurate information on an individual’s level of function and help him or her return to a productive lifestyle safely and without delay? We think so, and here’s another tool in the toolbox you may not have considered: the physical therapist:
“Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
The Missing LinkPhysical Therapists and Functionality
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Jill UnderhillSenior Disability Claims Consultant
U.S. Group Reinsurance
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