Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Comp “Medicalization”



“Medicalization”  is a term our Nurse Case Managers use to describe those complex/unstable medical files where everything in the injured workers’ life revolves around his/her workers’ compensation treatment, to the exclusion of life’s daily activities and blessings.

When an injured workers has been “medicalized” all they can think about is–

  1. When do I take my meds?
  2. When is my next appointment?
  3. What new procedures/prescriptions should I be requesting (that I saw on TV or the Internet)?
  4. When will I get my indemnity check?

Unfortunately, when severe “medicalization” sets in, the co-morbidity/side issues magnify.  These include (just to name a few):

  1. Depression
  2. Insomnia
  3. Indigestion
  4. Hypertension
  5. Obesity
  6. Decreased Pulmonary Capacity
  7. Chronic/Complex Pain
  8. Fatigue
  9. Lethargy/Apathy
  10. Loss of muscle tone/strength

The RN Case Manager is uniquely qualified to minimize the risk of “medicalization”  when they get involved in cases early on–even if the injury appears to only be a simple medical/non lost time issue.  The RN Case Manager must–

  1. Secure cooperation of all stakeholders–(including family members and treating physicians).
  2. Secure injured worker buy in to what your goals are and what their goals should be.
  3. Secure treating physician/employer buy in to innovative alternative duty programs. (Nothing prompts a minor hand injury/simple strain/shoulder pull/contusion etc., claimant to appreciate their situation then a volunteer assignment at the VA/homeless shelter/hospital pediatric wing.)
  4. Initiate constant/constructive communication and accountability from all stakeholders.


We don’t win every battle, but we can win more of them.


Call us, We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer

Posted in OMCA