IMO Preparing for the Future
By Dr. D. C. Campbell, Vice President of Network Development and Engagement, at
Injury Management Organization (IMO)
IMO Med-Select Network is pleased to announce two significant expansions in the workers’ compensation network’s ability to deliver cost-effective and high-quality medical care to more injured employees in Texas. IMO has teamed up with the RediMD group of primary care, specialty care and occupational medicine doctors to provide telemedicine diagnoses and services under the IMO Telemed Program. In addition, the Texas Department of Insurance recently approved the certification of an additional eight counties for the IMO Certified Network.
IMO Telemed Program
Effective December 1, 2019, IMO teamed up with RediMD to deliver telemedicine diagnoses and services from treating doctors to injured employees, without the employees having to leave their homes or workplaces. It is a medical delivery model IMO plans to enhance in the future by including additional doctors and specialties.
The process is straight forward. When an employee is injured, the employee reports the injury to the supervisor or employer, then calls a designated toll-free phone number for immediate attention. Bilingual staff, available 24 hours seven days a week, schedule the injured employee’s appointment, collect demographic information, and begin the process seamlessly.
This joint program, coined IMO Telemed, allows an injured employee to see and speak interactively with a medical professional through any device that has a web cam and internet connection such as a smart phone, laptop computer, desk top computer, I-Pad or tablet. This method allows prompt diagnosis and early services for most of the injuries in workers’ compensation, such as low back soft-tissue injuries, sprains, and strains, but not for others such as major lacerations or those needing emergency services. However, telemedicine doctors can also triage and determine if the injury is one their doctors can treat or if they must immediately refer the injured employee to an urgent care or emergency room for treatment.
Most telemedicine appointments average 15-20 minutes, during which the medical doctor can diagnose the injury and prescribe an immediate medical course-of-action. This could be any combination of referrals for diagnostics (X-ray, MRI, etc.), referrals for specialists, or prescriptions for non-narcotic medications at a convenient and appropriate pharmacy.
RediMD doctors report that their telemedicine services improve recovery and lower medical costs. Since their medical remedies are typically delivered within hours after the injury, most injured employees with non-emergency low-back injuries can receive instructions and prescriptions the same day of the injury, and experience full recovery after an average of just three telemedicine appointments. Not surprisingly, RediMD’s telemedicine patients report higher levels of satisfaction as well.
The IMO Med-Select Telemed program increases early intervention in work-related injuries, reduces recovery duration, improves injured-employee satisfaction, cuts medical costs, and decreases injured-employee exposure to viral contagions in clinics.
IMO County Expansion
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) recently approved the certification of an additional eight counties for the IMO Med-Select Network. This brings to 84, the number of Texas counties covered by the IMO network. These are among the most populated counties, accounting for approximately 90 percent of injured employees and participating health care providers in Texas.
The new counties are: Aransas, Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio.
TDI requires certified workers’ compensation networks like IMO to meet strict standards of adequacy for counties, including a full range of medical services such as hospital, psychiatric, and physical therapy. Networks must also be available to treat employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, certified networks must provide services in urban areas within 30 miles from any point in urban areas, and within 60 miles in rural areas. Further, specialists must be available within 75 miles from any point in the service area. The new counties under the IMO certified network will be effective for injuries that occur on or after March 1, 2020.
IMO’s new Telemed Program and its expansion into more counties mean that more injured employees would benefit from the network’s track record of delivering cost-effective medical services that result in positive outcomes.
The TDI Network Report Card shows that IMO has some of the highest return-to-work and physical functioning scores among networks. Further, the network has simultaneously reduced average claim costs in four of the past five years. In 2019, IMO’s average cost for professional, hospital, and pharmacy claims were 25-50 percent lower that the group averages for TDIcertified networks, non-network, and political subdivision 504-networks.
Whether by county expansions, telemedicine, or new medical delivery innovations, IMO is dedicated to providing quality care to injured employees at reduced costs, now and into the future.