Among the huge workers' comp package we passed in 2011 was an expansion of the Centers of Occupational Health and Education (COHE) program so that all injured workers have access to a COHE by 2015, regardless of where they live.
COHEs are based in clinics and hospitals, and they provide education and financial incentives to more than 2,000 health care providers to encourage the use of best practices in occupational health. Funding from L&I supports health services coordinators who help with case management and getting appropriate services early in an injury claim.
A December 2011 study found that treatment by COHE providers reduced lost work days by nearly 20 percent and claim costs by $500 per claim.
There are currently 4 COHEs in Washington State:
- Renton COHE at Valley Medical Center, Renton, WA.
- Harborview Medical Center
- Eastern Washington COHE at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, Spokane, WA.
- The Everett Clinic
When you have a work-related injury, the priority is to restore your health so you can go back to work. Research shows that returning to normal activity as soon as safely possible after injury reduces the likelihood of long-term disability. Developing goals for returning to work may improve your overall health and outcomes while protecting your income and benefits.
The COHEs offer training and resources to your doctor, but may also be able to help you plan your return to work. COHEs have Health Services Coordinators that work with doctors, employers, and with you to understand your restrictions and find work that you can do. Want to make sure your doctor is participating in the program? Contact the COHE. And you can also find out more about what L&I has to offer injured workers here.
But back to the expansion, according to a press release, right now L&I is seeking proposals from health care organizations interested in sponsoring new COHEs, they expect to select at least six COHE sponsors by April 19.
Read this story in Spanish.