Employee Health And Wellness Clinic Example | Staff in the Employee Health and Wellness Clinic at University of Colorado Hospital were startled several weeks ago when an employee walked in and announced he believed he’d suffered a heart attack. The words initiated a call to 911 to get the employee emergency help.
But why didn’t the clinic staff provide emergency medical services to the individual?
“We’re not equipped to do that,” said Deborah Jones, director of the hospital’s Employee Health and Wellness program. “We don’t have a crash cart or tackle box. All we can do is what you or another staff member can save time by doing immediately – calling 911.”
Jones related the story in hopes of clarifying the Health and Wellness Clinic’s role at the hospital. The clinic can provide minor first aid. “But we don’t deliver medical care,” she said. Even something like providing oxygen requires a medical order from a physician, and the clinic is rarely staffed with one.
If an employee sustains a serious injury or displays what might be life-threatening symptoms – as was the case with the recent clinic visitor – Jones said people should of course err on the side of caution and send the individual to the Emergency Department or summon EMS help.
But she added that Employee Health pays for ED visits only if an injury or illness is work-related. In another recent case, she said, a manager sent an employee to the ED after the employee complained that her hospital-administered flu shot had made her ill. Employee Health didn’t pay the ED bill in that instance, Jones said.
“There is no [verifiable] connection between the shot and the illness,” Jones explained. She advised those who fall ill at work to get permission from their manager or supervisor to take time to see their primary care physician or other provider.
As an example of an ED visit Employee Health will pay for, Jones cited an employee injured this fall as she was returning after work to her car parked in the temporary Colfax Avenue lot. She was crossing the street with the light and was inside the crosswalk when a vehicle hit her.
“We [the hospital] had her park in the lot and she was leaving work,” Jones said. “So it was a work-related injury.”
If an employee suffers a non-emergency injury at work, Jones added, managers and supervisors should stabilize the individual, send him or her to an appropriate medical provider and report the injury to Employee Health. The clinic’s occupational health nurses work with the hospital’s workers compensation provider to resolve work-related injury cases.
On the other hand, an employee injured outside of work should seek care from his or her provider, then set up an appointment with Employee Health. Nurses will evaluate the injury and develop a return-to-work plan for the staffer.
If an employee is out sick for three days or more, hospitalized or seen in the ED, he or she must be cleared by Employee Health to return to work safely, Jones added. This may require a doctor’s release, depending on the situation, she said.