Human Resources Management Policy

Workers' Compensation

Policy 27

NOTE: THIS POLICY, LIKE ALL OTHER MUSC HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES, IS NOT A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH. THIS POLICY MAY BE CHANGED AT ANY TIME BY THE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

  1. POLICY
    1. All MUSC employees, permanent and temporary, are covered by Workers' Compensation; the entire cost is borne by the Medical University. Workers' Compensation is designed to provide benefits for employees who have incurred medical expenses or are unable to work due to bona fide occupational injuries or illnesses. The Medical University's Workers' Compensation Program is subject to provisions in Title 42 of the South Carolina's Compensation Commission (governing authority), and requirements of the State Accident Fund (insurance carrier).
    2. Employees are expected to return to work with or without medical restrictions when cleared by a Employee Health Services physician. Departments must permit employees to return to work who can accomplish the essential functions of their position with or without reasonable accommodations. Employees who are not able to fulfill the essential functions of their position must be allowed to work in a modified work schedule or capacity for at least sixty calendar days per injury.

      After sixty calendar days, employees who are not able to accomplish the essential functions of their position may, at the department's discretion, continue in the modified work schedule or capacity or be placed on leave. If, at any time during the recovery, employees think that they will not be able to fulfill the essential functions of their position, they should contact the Department of Human Resources Management to pursue a more suitable position.
    3. An employee who is losing time from work due to an injury covered by Workers' Compensation and has been placed out of work by the medical provider has three options from which to select a method of compensation (see Attachment 2). The employee may select a new leave option for each period of disability. If a new option is not selected, the type of leave shall be in accordance with the leave option exercised by the employee for the previous period of disability. The length of time an employee shall be permitted to continue in a leave status (paid or unpaid) shall be governed by the appropriate Human Resources Management leave policy.
    4. Any employee blood borne pathogen exposure will be handled in a confidential manner. Employees who contract HIV are covered by Workers' Compensation if it is determined that they were infected at work. Filing a Workers' Compensation Employer's First Report of Injury or Illness (ACORD form) (Attachment 1) at the time of exposure is mandatory to protect one's ability to file a future claim.

  2. INFORMATION AND PROCEDURES
    1. Employee Responsibilities:
      1. Notify the supervisor immediately of any occupational injuries or illnesses sustained.
      2. Advise the department each time an absence occurs as a result of an occupational injury or illness.
      3. Seek medical treatment for work-related illnesses or injuries ONLY from Employee Health Services between the hours of 7:00 a.m through 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or the MUSC Emergency Room, all other hours, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, with your completed ACORD form signed by a supervisor (Attachment 1) (see Section 11.B.4 of this policy regarding emergency procedures). Under current South Carolina law, employees do NOT have the option of seeking medical attention from the physician of their choice in workers' compensation cases.
      4. Obtain an "Injury Treatment Rapid Report" form (Attachment 9) from Employee Health Services for each referral appointment. The employee must provide a copy to their supervisor and maintain a copy for his/her record. This form must be completed by the provider and returned to the Workers' Compensation representative located in Employee Health Services for payment authorization.
      5. Return to work with or without restrictions when cleared by the Employee Health Services physician. If you are unable to return to work at the designated time, you must return to Employee Health Services for reevaluation. If absence is not authorized by the Employee Health Services physician and is still taken by employee, leave without pay may be mandated by the supervisor and disciplinary action taken. If the extension is granted, you must notify your supervisor of the new return to work date.
      6. Keep appointments and/or treatments as scheduled by provider.
      7. Contact the Compensation/Employee Relations Section of the Department of Human Resources Management whenever it appears that you will not be able to return to your old position.
    2. Department Responsibilities:
      1. Designate a Workers' Compensation Coordinator.
      2. Assure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities relating to on-the-job injuries or illnesses.
      3. The supervisor shall properly and legibly complete the Workers' Compensation Employer's First Report of Injury or Illness (ACORD form) (Attachment 1) immediately upon notification of an occupational injury or illness.
      4. The supervisor shall refer the employee (with the completed ACORD form) to Employee Health Services from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (call 792-2991 for location of Employee Health Services). For job-related injuries or illnesses that occur all other hours, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the supervisor shall refer the employee to the MUSC Emergency Room

        Employees with severe, acute, or nonambulatory job-related injuries or illnesses (e.g., loss of consciousness, severe lacerations) can be seen anytime in the MUSC Emergency Room. The supervisor should contact the MUSC Emergency Room (extension 2-3826) to inform them that the employee is on the way. Note: The Medical University does not have the resources necessary to transport injured employees from outside the confines of the MUSC Medical Center to the appropriate destination for treatment. (The MUSC Medical Center consists of the Medical University Hospital, the Children's Hospital, the Storm Eye Institute and the Clinical Science Building). If emergency transportation services are necessary, the supervisor should notify the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) by calling 911. Directions as to the location of the injured employee should be given.
      5. Employees shall be paid as hours worked during the initial visit to Employee Health Services. Leave status (paid or unpaid) shall commence only when an absence from work is authorized by Employee Health Services.
      6. The supervisor shall initiate a prompt investigation of the incident, as outlined in the Medical University's Safety Manual. The Office of Occupational Safety and Health (extension 2-3604) should be notified as soon as possible regarding any safety hazards or violations.
      7. The department shall ensure that the Workers' Compensation Office (extension 2-1775) is notified each time an employee leaves/returns to work due to the accident/injury.
      8. The supervisor should maintain contact with any employee who is absent due to a Workers' Compensation injury to offer encouragement and to keep up with the employee's improvement. It is also important for the supervisor to ascertain that the absence is authorized by the Employee Health Services physician and to notify the Workers' Compensation Representative (extension 2-1775) if there is a problem.
      9. Departments should advise employees who expect to have prolonged absences or be on a modified work schedule for over sixty days to contact the Department of Human Resources Management (extension 2-4674) to discuss eligibility for additional disability benefits.
    3. Employee Health Services Responsibilities:
      1. Treat or refer the employee as appropriate.
      2. Maintain records of all job-related injuries or illnesses.
      3. Submit the ACORD form to the Workers’ Compensation Office immediately upon receipt.
      4. Approve absences due to work-related injuries or illnesses.
      5. Determine whether injured employees are medically fit to return to work, with or without limitations or restrictions.
      6. Issue a copy of the "Injury Treatment Rapid Report" form (Attachment 9) to the employee and Workers’ Compensation Office. A faxed copy will be provided to the supervisor, upon request, after initial telephone contact has been made with the supervisor.
    4. Department of University Risk Management Responsibilities:
      1. Responsible for the overall administration of the Workers' Compensation Program at the Medical University.
      2. Investigate reported injuries/illnesses and take necessary corrective action.
      3. Provide management with safety recommendations regarding Workers' Compensation cases.
      4. Make follow-up reports to the State Workers' Compensation Commission through appropriate channels.
      5. Provide information, advice and assistance to employees and Workers' Compensation Coordinators regarding Workers' Compensation.
      6. Provide training for Workers' Compensation Coordinators and other key department officials.
      7. Maintain employee records relative to Workers' Compensation.
      8. Brief injured employees on options regarding compensation for time lost from work (see Attachments 2, 3, and 4).
      9. Instruct departments as to actions necessary when employees are out of work for more than seven days due to a job-related injury or illness (see Attachments 5, 6, 7, and 8).
      10. Maintain liaison with State Accident Fund.
    5. Department of Human Resources Management Responsibilities:
      Consult with department and employee on possible employment opportunities when it has been determined that the employee can no longer perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
    6. Medical Benefits:
      Medical expenses which have been APPROVED by Workers' Compensation will be paid.
    7. Compensation for Lost Time:
      1. Compensation for time lost from work is not allowable to employees who are disabled for seven or fewer days. In this case, employees should use their accrued sick or annual leave
      2. If the employee is disabled for more than seven days, but fewer than fifteen days, compensation is allowable from the eighth day of disability (provided the employee has not received pay from MUSC, in which case benefits begin the day following the last day of pay).
      3. If the injury results in disability for more than fourteen days, compensation is allowable from the date of disability (provided the employee has not received pay from MUSC, in which case benefits begin the day following the last day of pay).
      4. Compensation for time lost from work is paid at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of the employee's average weekly earnings at the time of injury, not to exceed the State's average weekly wage for the preceding fiscal year.
      5. If an absence from work is compensable, the employee must select one of three options as to how compensation is received (see Attachment 2). Once a selection has been made, it is irrevocable for that period of disability. A new selection may be made for subsequent periods of disability if the employee wishes to change the original selection.
      6. Permanent, full-time employees who are temporarily disabled as a result of an assault by an inmate, patient or client must be placed on administrative leave with pay, instead of sick leave or Workers' Compensation. The administrative leave cannot exceed 180 calendar days (see Attachment 8).
 
Approved by:

Information Contact

Revised

Robert C. Gallager

Vice President for Finance & Administration

University Risk Management

February 1999