BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

New-hire pain diagnostics reduce trucking firm’s comp claims

New-hire pain diagnostics reduce trucking firm’s comp claims

CARLSBAD, Calif.—The phone doesn’t ring as much in workers compensation claim manager Deborah Konkel’s office in Mondovi, Wisconsin, as it did before her company Marten Transport Ltd. began testing its new truck drivers for soft-muscle tissue pain before they embarked on their first cross-county delivery. 

Marten Transport now pre-tests its new hires for soft-muscle tissue pain using Emerge Diagnostics L.L.C.’s examinations as a way to have a baseline for whether a new driver has pre-existing muscle pain. 

Emerge Diagnostics, based in Carlsbad, California, specializes in testing for soft-tissue injuries by using electrodes to monitor nerve reactions to movement and other stimuli, creating a computerized reading of whether a muscle is in spasm and whether the nerves are reacting abnormally.

The practice at Marten began in 2015 and the trucking firm has since seen its rate of soft-tissue injury claims for new hires drop from 3.3 per 100 new hires to 1.4, according to Ms. Konkel. Of the 37 claims filed by new hires in their first six months, only three showed actual injuries over soft-tissue pain that was documented when they began working, she added. 

It’s typical that, “after six months on the job, the phone rings,” she told attendees at Emerge Diagnostics’ third annual Emerging Trends in Workers' Compensation Summit on Thursday in Carlsbad. Her industry is one of high turnover, and one of high claims filings, she said. Her firm employs 2,700 drivers in 48 states.  

The test is conducted as part of the employment agreement, Ms. Konkel added, noting that results don’t keep a person from being hired. Results do, however, allow the trucking company to know whether a reported injury occurred while the employee was driving for them, she said. 

“This is a deterrent,” she said, of the testing of new hires who may consider filing a false claim on an injury they had before they began working for Marten Transport. “It’s a game-changer.” 

Kevin Schmidt, CEO for Duluth, Minnesota-based WorkWell Prevention & Care Inc., a medical care management firm that works with Marten Transport, said “people who are hurt are truly going to seek care.”


Read Next

  • Electrodes in telemedicine help doctors diagnose from afar

    CARLSBAD, Calif. — Telemedicine is a way for an injured worker to immediately see a specialist who can properly diagnose and treat — factors that can improve outcomes, save employees from unnecessary treatments and save employers from unnecessary costs, experts say.