It seems so obvious: When an employee becomes disabled, the goal should be to get him recovered and back to work as quickly as possible. That reduces the economic and emotional impact on the employee, and helps the company control costs and maintain productivity. While that's not always how things happen, it can be accomplished with Integrated Disability Management (IDM), which is a "coordination of benefits delivery across traditional programs," explains William Molmen, general counsel for the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit research and education organization in San Francisco.
It's a holistic approach to disability management. Whether the disability is caused by an on-the-job injury, an off-work incident, an illness or some combination of circumstances, all the employee's benefits are coordinated by a single source to maximize care, minimize economic damages, get claims paid, and return the worker to employment as soon as it's feasible. Molmen says IDM usually includes workers' comp, short-term disability and return-to-work programs and may also encompass long-term disability, health insurance, medical treatment coordination and Family Medical Leave Act administration.
Contact your insurance broker or agent, or visit IBI's Marketplace section at www.ibiweb.org to see the companies that offer IDM programs.
Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.