What You as a Brevard County Public School Secretary or Administrator Need to Know About Workers' Compensation
In your position with the School Board at one time or another an employee or official school volunteer will come to you to report that they were injured on the job or while serving as a volunteer. This section is designed to assist you in knowing what to do following a report of an accident resulting in an injury or being a witness to an accident with a resulting injury. It is our desire to provide you with the following as a way to answer most questions you might have, but if after this information you still have questions we are a simple phone call away and are happy to assist (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620.
The first thing you need to know is that all work related accidents resulting in injury to an employee or volunteer must be documented in writing on the Risk Management Incident/Accident Report form and the employee/volunteer must complete a post-accident drug screen. This is required whether the employee is requesting medical attention at the time of report or not.
We will describe the District's process below, but must acknowledge that these situations can be rather stressful and at times rather hurried. Often these accidents result in adults weeping or screaming which can be rather intimidating as well so your ability to remain calm when these reports come to you goes a long way in assuring the injured employee/volunteer that the District will provide them with proper medical care following their injury. A list of frequently asked questions can be found below after steps one through four.
First and foremost, unless the injury is life threatening, your first reaction should not be to call 911 and get the employee to the hospital emergency room, rather it should be to decide the best course of action. It is our hope that the following steps will help you to make the right decisions in this regard.
Four Steps to Call in a Work-Related Accident/Injury:
Step One: Visual Triage for Life-Threatening Injuries.
When an employee/volunteer reports they were injured due to an accident on the job, you should assess/do a visual triage to rule out that the injury is a life-threatening injury. If in your view the injury is not life threatening, you may skip this step and go to step two.
If you believe, the situation is or could be life-threatening review this section carefully. First, we define life-threatening injuries as any injury that appears to show signs that the individual may not live/survive or may lose a major life bodily function unless emergency medical assistance is rendered immediately. If in your view the injury is life threatening doing the paperwork necessary to report the injury should be set aside for later. It is your duty to attempt to provide immediate first-aid care and/or treatment with a paramedic in order to save the employee/volunteer's life and get them to the nearest hospital emergency room. We highly recommend that you ask your school nurse to assist you in this type of situation as they have been trained to address these types of situations. Once the emergency has passed and is under control then that would be the time to report the injury properly. In the numbered items below, you will see examples of life threatening conditions that may need emergency treatment.
- Loss of consciousness or severe head injury/wound.
- Breathing terminated or an individual who reports or shows signs of breathing difficulty.
- Wounds with profuse bleeding (difficult to stop or control) to the head, abdomen, extremities.
- Severed extremity or eye gouge.
- Compound bone fracture (bone protruding from the skin). Other bone fractures may also be life threatening. If you are not sure if the fracture is life, threatening it is best to treat it as life threatening.
- Cardiac arrest, tight chest, or signs of a heart attack. In most cases, these will not be workers' compensation, but they are life threatening and the decision as to whether it is workers' compensation or not can be made after the condition is stabilized.
If the injured worker's condition is not life threatening, please perform the following step:
Step Two: Injury Reporting and Documentation of the Injury
The District is required to report/document all work related injuries when an employee/volunteer advises their supervisor or school/department secretary (if assigned to perform this task) they suffered an injury while at work (School Board Policy-3340-Instructional Staff Accidents and Work Place Safety). In addition, all work related accidents resulting in injury require the employee to obtain a drug screen. Both injury documentation and the drug screen are required whether the injured worker requests medical attention at the time of report or not. The following steps should be followed:
1. All employees/volunteers must complete the "Risk Management Incident/Accident Report" if they have an accident on the job that results in injury (Incident/Accident Report Form). For non-life-threatening injuries, the injured employee/volunteer should complete the form at the time of their initial report. For those transported to the hospital for life-threatening care the form should be completed once the employee is released from the hospital. It is important that the injured employee/volunteer complete sections 1,2,3,6, and 7 fully, and then sign the form.
a. Employees/volunteers that do not want to complete the paperwork: If the employee/volunteer felt it important to advise you about the injury, it is imperative that you make sure they document the injury/accident even if they say they do not want to make a big deal out of the injury at that time or not. This protects the employee/volunteer in the event that the condition worsens and they may need medical care in the future, but it also protects the Board from fines by the State of Florida for failing to report an injury timely.
b. Drug testing for those not seeking medical attention at the time of the report: If the employee/volunteer does not want medical attention, complete the Florida Drug Free Work Place Chain of Custody form and mark the box post-accident screen (Chain of Custody) and the Brevard School District Anti-Drug Program Form (Anti Drug Form). Once complete then send the employee/volunteer for their drug screen.
2. If at the time of the injury report the employee/volunteer requests medical attention or reports that they have already gone to a physician to treat the injury, the supervisor or school/department secretary (if assigned to perform this duty) should interview the injured employee/volunteer using the "Workers' Compensation Report Options for Notice of Injury" form (call in sheet) or Call-In Sheet.
3. If the employee/volunteer was transported to the hospital emergency room due to a life-threatening condition, the supervisor or school/department secretary should complete the "Workers' Compensation Report Options for Notice of Injury" Call-In form based on their knowledge of the accident/injury.
4. Once the Risk Management Incident/Accident is complete, send it to the Office of Risk Management.
5. Step Three: Obtaining Medical Attention for Employees/Volunteers Injured While Working
Once the "Workers' Compensation Report Options for Notice of Injury" is complete, the supervisor or school/department secretary should call the District's administrator for work injuries "Sedgwick CMS" toll free at (866) 350-8665 to report the injury.
During the call:
1. A Sedgwick nurse will ask the supervisor or school/department secretary about the injury by asking all of the questions listed on the "Workers' Compensation Report Options for Notice of Injury" form.
2. Once the supervisor or school/department secretary provides all of the information listed on the reporting form, the nurse will ask the supervisor or school/department secretary to speak with the injured employee/volunteer directly for further questions about the injury.
3. The nurse will ask the injured employee/volunteer many of the same questions they asked the supervisor or school/department secretary. This may sound redundant, but this is done to clarify the injury further and obtain any information that may have been inadvertently left out from the first part of the call.
4. While the injured employee/volunteer is conversing with the nurse performing triage, the supervisor or school/department secretary should complete the Florida Drug Free Work Place Chain of Custody form and mark the box post-accident screen (Chain of Custody) and the Brevard School District Anti-Drug Program Form (Anti Drug Form).
Following Nurse Triage:
1. Once the nurse has completed their questions of the injured employee/volunteer, they will ask the injured employee/volunteer to hand the phone back to their supervisor or school/department secretary.
2. The nurse will inform the supervisor or school/department secretary what they recommended the employee/volunteer to do from a medical standpoint.
3. If the nurse indicated the employee/volunteer is recommended for home care, rather than be alarmed allow this to occur unless the injured employee/volunteer insists that a physician see them. If the injured employee/volunteer insists, they see a physician you can advise the nurse and a physician will be assigned.
4. If the nurse indicates that they have referred the injured employee/volunteer to a doctor or hospital emergency room, they will inform the supervisor or school/department secretary of the authorized referral and will provide them with the clinic or hospital name and address.
5. The nurse will advise the supervisor or school/department secretary that if the employee/volunteer's condition worsens or if the injured employee/volunteer has further questions they can call back for additional assistance.
Following the Call:
1. Immediately following the initial reporting call, the nurse will e-mail the supervisor or school/department secretary three forms:
a. A "Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. Clinical Consultation Referral Services" form (example). The supervisor or school/department secretary should provide a copy of this form to the injured employee/volunteer so they can take this with them to the clinic or hospital.
b. A "School Board of Brevard County Clinical Consultation Nurse Report" (example). This is a summary of all information gathered by the nurse during the call along with the authorized physician's information. The supervisor or school/department secretary should provide a copy of this form to the injured employee/volunteer so they can take this with them to the clinic or hospital.
c. A tymesys "First Fill Temporary Pharmacy Card" and list of approved pharmacies (example). The supervisor or school/department secretary should provide this form and list of pharmacies to the injured employee/volunteer. The employee/volunteer can use this form at any of the listed pharmacies to fill all prescriptions written by the authorized clinic or hospital following initial treatment.
2. Print the three forms sent to supervisor or school/department secretary as listed above and provide this copy as well as the drug free workplace forms to the injured employee/volunteer.
3. The injured employee/volunteer should proceed to the District's drug free work place administrator lab in order to have a drug screen. See attached for the nearest lab (Collection Sites). Drug testing is Board policy and must be done when an employee/volunteer reports being injured at work regardless of the need for medical care. Mileage to and from drug testing facility is not reimbursable under workers' compensation.
4. Ask the injured employee/volunteer if he/she needs directions to the clinic if they can drive themselves to the clinic or hospital. If there is a question on his/her ability to drive, attempt to find someone that can do so. If you cannot find someone to drive, please contact Risk Management at (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620.
5. Once the forms are provided to the injured employee/volunteer, allow them to decide if they need to go to the physician now or at a later time. Secretary or administrator should advise the injured employee/volunteer to come back and see them immediately following the doctor's appointment and bring a doctor's note with them. The injured employee/volunteer should be advised that this is required after all doctor's appointments until their claim is closed.
6. Remind the injured employee/volunteer that they cannot seek medical care with any physician that was not previously authorized by Risk Management or their claims adjuster at Sedgwick CMS, Terry Koch or Lynette Byrne. If they seek medical care that was not previously authorized, they are responsible for the full cost of this care as the District will not reimburse any to these expenses nor will the District accept any unauthorized doctor's note excusing them from work in order to receive pay under "in-line-of-duty" pay or workers' compensation indemnity payments.
Step Four: Once the Employee Returns to Work Following Their Initial Medical Treatment
Once the employee returns to work following their initial medical treatment or after continuous treatment until the claim ends, the following may be helpful:
Return After Receiving Initial Medical Care:
1. Immediately following (the day of the accident, the day the accident was reported, or the next workday if they go to the doctor at the end of the day) the first doctor visit the employee should return to the school/department and present their doctor's note. This note will be in most cases a DWC-25 form (example). If the employee fails to return with a note, advise them to go back to the doctor and obtain a note. If the employee fails to return to work the following their appointment, they are subject to employee discipline.
2. The secretary or administrator should review the note and pay special attention to any work limitations. If there are no limitations on the note that would affect the employee's job, return them to work as listed. The employee should be returned to work in some capacity even though they may have limitations. This may require the secretary or administrator to communicate with the Office of Risk Management for assistance and we would be happy to help, (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620.
3. The secretary or administrator should never get involved in the medical treatment or medical needs of the injured employee. If the injured employee comes to the secretary or administrator with a medical need, an issue, or complaint, immediately indicate that they cannot intervene and refer them to their adjuster, Terry Koch toll free at (877) 726-7972 ext. 76707 or Lynette Byrne toll free at (877) 300-6187 ext. 21983. If they cannot reach the adjuster within 24 hours of their initial call, they should then be referred to the Office of Risk Management, (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620.
4. If the doctor's note indicates that the injured employee cannot work, please see the "Medical Care that Results in Absence from Work" section below for instructions regarding these procedures.
5. If the doctor's note allows them to return to work with or without limitations, but sets a follow-up appointment then you may put this appointment on your calendar so you are aware that they will be out of the office at that time. We would suggest that you see if the appointment can take place at a time that will be more convenient to you such as before/after school or outside the workday. You can ask the injured worker to change the appointment time or contact the Office of Risk Management and we will see if the scheduled appointment can be moved so it is more convenient to you.
6. All light duty light assignments are limited to a maximum of four (4) months or one hundred twenty (120) days. If an injured employee's light duty assignment goes beyond the four (4) month period, you will be asked to place them on a leave of absence until they are able to return to perform the essential functions of their job with or without accommodations.
7. The secretary or administrator will receive an envelope from the Office of Risk Management within a couple of days of the injury report. That envelope will contain a packet of information that should be given to the injured employee. The first form is an acknowledgement that must be signed by the injured employee indicating they received the forms below (Employee Receipt form). This form must be signed and returned to the Office of Risk Management at the time the forms are dispersed. All other forms should be given to the injured worker after they sign indicating these forms were received. The forms include:
a. A mileage reimbursement form (Mileage form).
b. Two "First Report of Injury or Illness" forms. One for the School/Department and the other is to be given to the employee (Report of Injury example)
c. The State Division of Workers' Compensation brochure (Fact Brochure).
d. A copy of Florida Statute §440.19 outlining their statute of limitations requirements (F.S. 440.19).
8. The injured employee will in addition to the packet described in section seven above, receive a packet of information via U.S. Mail from Sedgwick CMS. This packet should not be confused with the envelope received from the Office of Risk Management. The injured employee should complete both packets of information and return them as directed.
On-Going Medical Care:
1. After the initial doctor's appointment, it is normal for the injured employee to have at least one if not more follow-up appointments until the doctor feels they have fully recovered or reached the end of their medical treatment, better known as maximum medical improvement (MMI).
2. Starting with the next appointment, the employee's time off work should be counted as "In-Line-of-Duty" treatment from a payroll perspective. This leave is limited to a total of 10 workdays, but is appropriate leave per state statute (F.S. 440.19) and the Brevard Federation of Teachers Contract and/or the International Union of Patinters and Allied Trades Local 1010 Contract (see also Human Resources for copies of the contracts). Following the exhaustion of the 10 days ILOD (listed as PIL in CrossPointe) as listed in the statute and District union contracts, the employee should use sick leave for any amount not covered by workers' compensation. Should you have questions regarding how to enter any type of leave related to work injury contact the Accounting Services Payroll section at (321) 631-1000 ext. 11624.
3. A leave form is not necessary for each appointment as long as the employee returns to work immediately following their doctor's appointment.
4. Following each appointment the employee should return to the school/department with their doctor's note, specifically the DWC-25 form. If the employee fails to return with a note, send them back to the doctor's office to obtain a note for the appointment. Upon receipt of the note, review it for limitations. As stated in section five above, if the doctor's note allows them to return to work with or without limitations, but sets a follow-up appointment then you may put this appointment on your calendar so you are aware that they will be out of the office at that time. We would suggest that you see if the appointment can take place at a time that will be more convenient to you such as before/after school or outside the workday. You can ask the injured employee to change the appointed time or contact the Office of Risk Management and we will see if the scheduled appointment can be moved so it is more convenient to you.
5. As long as the employee is not losing time from work, but continues to need medical care accommodate them at work including any light duty assignment as necessary, but allow them to go to their physical therapy appointments, doctor's appointments, etc. Monitor the doctor's notes following each appointment. If at any time the doctor's note lists work limitations to the point that you are having difficulty finding a light duty assignment for the injured employee, please contact the Office of Risk Management (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620 for assistance.
6. As a reminder, all light duty leave assignments are limited to a maximum of four months or 120 days. If an injured employee's light duty goes beyond the four-month period, you will be asked to place them on a leave of absence until they are able to return to perform the essential functions of their job with or without accommodations.
7. If the doctor's note takes the injured employee out of work, please see below.
Medical Care that Results in Absence from Work:
1. If at any time during the life of the injured employee's claim you receive a doctor's note (DWC-25 form) excusing the employee from work, send a copy of the note to the Office of Risk Management. We highly recommend that you contact the Office of Risk Management (321) 631-1000 ext. 11620, to keep us apprised of the claim and assist you while the employee is out of work.
2. The doctor's note must indicate that the employee is unable to work. If the note excuses the employee for five (5) workdays or less, no leave is required. The employee should be granted paid ILOD leave (PIL) for this time unless she/he has already exhausted their 10 ILOD days. If the ILOD time has exhausted then list the leave as unpaid ILOD (NIL). If the employee is excused from work greater than five (5) days then they must complete a leave form. The leave form and note should be sent to the Office of Employee Benefits.
3. It is important to point out that the date of the note is usually the start date of the leave and will commence from that date until the date of the next doctor's appointment, which is usually listed on the doctor's note. If there is no return appointment date and time listed on the original note, require the employee to supply you with a note completed by the doctor giving you the date and time for their next doctor's appointment. You must have a doctor's note indicating the date of the next appointment to prove the beginning and the end leave period. If the injured employee does not have a note from the doctor giving, the exact date and time for their next doctor's appointment require them to go back to the doctor and obtain this information. Advise the employee that unless you have both a beginning leave date and the ending leave date you cannot process the leave. If they fail to provide you with proper doctor's notes with a beginning and ending leave date, they could be considered absent without approved leave and subject to employment discipline up to and including termination from employment.
4. All doctor's notes excusing the injured employee in excess of five (5) days require the employee to complete a Human Resources leave form. If the injured employee provides you with a doctor's note excusing them from work for five (5) or more days, before the injured employee leaves your school/department have them complete a leave form and a Family Medical Leave form. The forms should be from the date of the doctor's note until the date of the next doctor's appointment. Both completed leave forms and a copy of the doctor's note should be sent to the Office of Employee Benefits Leave of Absence. Each subsequent doctor's appointment should be treated in the same manner as described in this section as long as the doctor excuses the employee from work. If for any reason the employee does not return to the school/department with a completed doctor's note they would be considered absent without approved leave and are subject to employee discipline.
5. If at any time you have difficulty obtaining a doctor's note or have difficulty getting the employee to complete the leave forms, the Office of Risk Management may assist you, but ultimately discipline may be the only alternative. If this is the case, you must contact the Office of Labor Relations for assistance.
6. When the doctor's note changes from an excuse from work to a light duty situation please follow the outline found above in the "On-Going Medical Section."
7. If the doctor's note never allows the employee to return to work or places the employee at maximum medical improvement with or without limitation, please see the next section.
End of Medical Treatment, Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI):
1. When you get a doctor's note indicating the employee has reached MMI review the limitations section. If the section indicates, the employee can return to work full duty with no limitations then return the employee to work.
2. If you receive, a doctor's note indicating the employee has reached MMI and the doctor has permanent restriction, but these limitations will not affect the employee's job description "essential function" or "physical demands" sections, then you can return the employee to work.
3. If you receive, a doctor's note indicating the employee has reached MMI and the doctor has permanent restrictions that do not allow the employee to work within the requirements of their job descriptions "essential function" or "physical demands" then you cannot return the employee to work until cleared by the Office of Employee Benefits. If you receive this type of doctor's note, advise the injured employee that the District may be able to return them to work, but only if a reasonable accommodation to allow them to return to work can be determined. Advise them of their rights under the Americans with Disability Act and give them the proper paperwork to seek an accommodation. You can advise them to contact the Office of Employee Benefits for further information.