Work disability benefits? Depends on the doctor – Health

THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 2017 — Medical professionals give widely varying views about if claimants for employment disability gains ought to get those advantages, investigators report.

Following accident or a disabling disease, many workers seek their lost wages to be replaced by gains. Insurers offer benefits for workers who deemed qualified and are assessed.

Medical professionals are hired by carriers to evaluate those workers, but there have been worries regarding the standard of those evaluations, the researchers explained.

The research group, headed by Dr. Regina Kunz in the University of Basel in Switzerland, examined 23 studies conducted between 1992 and 2016 in 12 states in North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Asia.

There was low to medium agreement in specialists’ comments about disability benefits claimants’ capacity. Levels of agreement were linked with the usage of a standardized evaluation method.

The findings have been “disconcerting” and point to the need for “substantial investment in research to further increase evaluation of disability,” according to Kunz and colleagues.

The research was first published Jan. 25 at the BMJ.

“Despite their widespread usage, medical evaluations of work disability show high variability and frequently low reliability. Use of standardized and validated instruments to direct the process could improve reliability,” the researchers said in a diary news release.

However, they noticed that few countries have such tests.

There “is an increasingly urgent demand for top excellent study, conducted in real insurance configurations, to research promising approaches to enhance agreement in evaluation of capacity to work,” Kunz’s staff noted.

The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has more about work safety and health.