Industrial consulting services may include the performance of:
- Pre-employment screenings
- Preplacement physical screening (worker selection)
- Educating the management and workers about preventive strategies for the workplace
- After-injury care of workers
- Ergonomic assessment and safety analysis
- Rehabilitative care
- Back-safety programs
Research has shown that chiropractic care for injured workers results in a return to the workplace sooner than what medical care has–to the tune of duration of workplace injury disability being 48% shorter for patients treated by chiropractic. At a glass fabrication company, where workers who had received a chiropractic pre-employment, preplacement physical screening experienced lost work days at a rate of 27 times less than unscreened workers, and that the rate for lower back injuries among the non-screened workers was nearly five times more than the pre-screened workers. Another study, The Utah Study, measured the cost of chiropractic care compared to medical care, and concluded that medical care was “significantly more for medical claims, and compensation claims were ten-fold less for chiropractic claims.”1,2
Industries and businesses need to know about the many benefits of chiropractic care and prevention methods. They need to be aware that DCs can function as gatekeepers for care for low back injuries, directing injured workers to the most cost-effective treatment. But who will inform the company owners, the safety managers and safety teams? In a recent conversation with a safety manager of a corporation about the stacks of literature regularly crossing his desk, he said of the numerous safety journals and publications he regularly read, not one included information about cost-effective chiropractic care for injured workers nor mentioned earlier return-to-work of the worker, nor that chiropractic care was even an option to include in their health benefits package. He heard it from??a chiropractor over a casual breakfast meeting where he learned of the many services DCs can offer business owners.
The menu of services a properly trained DC may offer is extensive. Industrial consulting services may include the performance of pre-employment, preplacement physical screening (worker selection), educating the management and workers about preventive strategies for the workplace, after-injury care of workers, ergonomic assessment and safety analysis, rehabilitative care, back-safety programs, and much more.
Today we have a health care market driven by employers who want to deliver quality health care packages to employees and their families. Every day DCs wanting to “get their foot in the door” of industry telephone inquiring about just how to do that. The answer simply is– there is no one surefire method suited for every DC. What worked for the DC in Seattle may not work for the DC in New Jersey. However, the most significant means of informing and influencing the employer and other decision makers for the industries and businesses in the DCs own community is through relationship-building methods. This is the number one key to industry’s door, and necessary for establishing a foundation of trust whereby information shared about your ability to provide health care and services that ultimately will prevent injuries and positively affect a company’s bottom line.
EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND MARKETING
Fortunately, the ACA recognizes that support is necessary for DCs faced with the many challenges of entering the specialty field of industrial/occupational health consulting. The ACA – Council on Occupational Health (ACA-COH) was established only recently, in 1991, and offers support for the DC through a quarterly Occupational Health Briefs publication featuring articles and information to assist in consulting.
Other help and support is available through the International Academy of Chiropractic Occupational Health Consultants (IACOHC), a non-profit organization established in 1983 for the purpose of advancing the chiropractic profession in industry and business. A resource center of occupational health educational and training materials exists; a quarterly chiropractic occupational health newsletter, The Academy, is available; weekend seminars are available as introductions to occupational health training, and postgraduate training which leads to Diplomat status in the American Chiropractic Board of Occupational Health (DACBOH) through CCE approved chiropractic colleges.
STATE CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATIONS
Every state chiropractic organization needs an industrial relations committee (IRC) to support their members as the specialty field of occupational health rapidly advances for, and into the profession. The IACOHC has established state representatives in as many states as possible to aid in the development of such committees, and to act as liaison between the IACOHC and their state association–another support system for DCs. State associations are able to obtain additional details by making a telephone call to the IACOHC.
Chiropractors have these resources at their finger tips, and I encourage the DC interested in industrial consulting to take advantage of the assistance and support. For additional information, about either the ACA-Council on Occupational Health or the IACOHC, telephone 507-455-2524.” “Beth L. Auppl is the Executive Director of the International Chiropractic Occupational Health Consultants (IACOHC). She is the editor of The Academy, chiropractic occupational health newsletter, Senior Editor of Occupational Health Briefs, and Resource Coordinator for the ACA Council on Occupational Health (ACA-COH). Both the ACA-COH and the IACOHC are non-profit organizations.
1Cost Containment in the Workplace. IACOHC/ ACA. (brochure)
2The Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic: A Better Bottom Line for Your Company. Alabama State
3Chiropractic Association. (brochure).