Connecticut Orthopaedics is Expert in Workers' Compensation Care

Patrick A. Ruwe

Video Transcript

The goal for workplace injuries is to get patients back to work in the safest and most efficient way. That makes them happy, it makes the employer happy and COS is good at working within the rules of the workers’ comp system, but still being a patient advocate. That’s what we’re here for. I think what qualifies our doctors as excellent providers of work-related care is that we get it. From a worker standpoint they’re not working, they’re not earning. their living. From an employer standpoint that employer doesn’t have the use of the skills of that employee. There is pressure in the patient’s life to get back to work and there’s a pressure from the employer to have an employee employee back at work. Those patients need to be treated by somebody that gets the system. When you come to this practice, the paperwork is done, the paper is done on time. The care is seamless. If you need an x-ray, it’s done, there’s no delay. If you need physical therapy, it’s set up within our group, there’s no delay. If you need an MRI, we can get that done as fast as the workers’ comp carrier can approve it. We have ease of entry into our system by virtue of having so many doctors and more than one doctor in each sub specialty. That the practice is spread out over New Haven area. We have offices in North, South, East and West and so we try to make a convenient for patients to get in in a timely – timely fashion. Particularly, with workplace injuries where they really shouldn’t wait 2 – 3 weeks to be seen. We also have, sort of, a complete orthopaedic service from evaluating the patient, x-raying them, if necessary, we have two of our own MRI machines. If surgery becomes an option, we have our own surgical center staffed by our own anesthesiologists. We have at most of our offices our own in-house physical therapy with well trained therapists. So, we pretty much can take a patient from diagnosis to surgery to completion of the rehab and get them back on their feet back where they were before they got injured. Diagnosis is made on day one. Useless tests are not performed. Conservative measures are usually employed, but the process is not drawn out. And most of time, when the injury comes to surgery, there’s a good result. The majority of the people that we see don’t need surgery but we still will rehabilitate them and get them ready for their old job. Some people need surgery and we’ll do that if necessary also. Therapy is absolutely essential, I believe, after the surgery. People have a lot of fear and apprehension about twisting, moving they – they need that reassurance that they can actually learn to lift and twist and – and move around again safely. We can do certain things in physical therapy and get them to where their motion is good and they can understand how to make it stronger. But, it doesn’t really get them fit for their job much like an athlete would get fit for their sport. So, we have an affiliation with Temple Physical Therapy so that we can utilize their work hardening or conditioning program and make the best of that transition back to work. Work Hardening, in relation to physical therapy, is a next step up after having gone through physical therapy. It’s a little bit more vigorous. It kind of gets them over that plateau using exercises that require some type of job stimulation of some sort. It’s basically geared to get the person back to work full duty. We have a variety of injured workers, being firefighters any type of municipal type of employee. Also any type of laborious employee. They go out of their way to create an environment that mimics the patient’s workplace. And that’s what’s so unique about it. And patients seem to like that. They’re much happier with that than just doing a course of physical therapy which may be kind of random. The standard physical therapy has your generic workout machines, but Temple Physical Therapy or the work hardening program, they had more – they had job specific equipment for me where I was swinging a sledgehammer, dragging a hose line, dragging a mannequin, climbing a ladder. All of those things that are specific to the job that I do. To be a police officer you have to raise your arm straight out in front of you and hold weight for firearms qualification. And they would have various weight exercises to stretch my shoulder so it would move. And then I was able to hold weight after a while. The work hardening program was designed for myself and my job. The lifting and being able to be agile and move around. So, I think that’s why I was able to go back to work and that be reinjured. How we measure our success here is looking out of patience and how they do the ability and progression here in our program. And also looking at whether or not they return back to work or not. Currently, right now, our return to work rate is eighty two percent and our average visits are 15 per patient.The work hardening program was great for this my self confidence. I left here very confident and ready to get back to work. I was cleared for full, unrestricted duty and I’m back to work. I’ve been back for almost six months and thanks to the work hardening program it’s great to be back to work and knowing that I can do my job safely and confidently.