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Save money with a new approach to managing disability benefits.

By Jacquelyn Lynn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It seems so obvious: When an employee becomes disabled, the goalshould be to get him recovered and back to work as quickly aspossible. That reduces the economic and emotional impact on theemployee, and helps the company control costs and maintainproductivity. While that's not always how things happen, it canbe accomplished with Integrated Disability Management (IDM), whichis a "coordination of benefits delivery across traditionalprograms," explains William Molmen, general counsel for theIntegrated BenefitsInstitute (IBI), a nonprofit research and educationorganization in San Francisco.

It's a holistic approach to disability management. Whetherthe disability is caused by an on-the-job injury, an off-workincident, an illness or some combination of circumstances, all theemployee's benefits are coordinated by a single source tomaximize care, minimize economic damages, get claims paid, andreturn the worker to employment as soon as it's feasible.Molmen says IDM usually includes workers' comp, short-termdisability and return-to-work programs and may also encompasslong-term disability, health insurance, medical treatmentcoordination and Family Medical Leave Act administration.

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