Task assignments can be a cost-effective method of obtaining information or file movement when a workers’ compensation case only requires limited activity or a “snapshot” of information. Typically these assignments request attendance at one physician appointment to obtain information that has been difficult to obtain, one visit to a therapy facility or employer or assistance with obtaining medical records or coordination of a second opinion.
The Department of Labor defines these assignments as narrowly focused and more limited in their scope of nurse case management services. Task-based assignments do not require the same level of intervention or intensity as is seen with a field-based full case management assignment.
The contacts and interventions on a task assignment are limited to the parties directly associated with the specified task requested by the referral source, which can include face-to-face meetings and telephonic intervention activities.
A task assignment can be an effective adjunct to the claim professional’s file when limited case management activities with no follow-up or in-depth analysis is required.
What type of referrals would be within the scope of a task assignment?
- Attend one physician appointment to obtain a copy of current medical records and an update to the current status [perhaps this information has been difficult to obtain via records request, etc.].
- Coordinate and possibly attend a second opinion or IME.
- Meet with the injured worker and employer at the place of employment when there has been a difficult transition to RTW.
- Attend a physical therapy appointment with the injured worker to assess progress, status and projections for additional therapy.
- Attend one physician appointment to address a return to light or regular duties.
What are the limitations to a task assignment? A task assignment is only a “snapshot” of current status and file activity. There may be co-morbidities, controlled prescription drugs, communication issues between the injured worker and employer, comprehension or language difficulties, psychosocial factors, etc. that are impacting progression of the file. These may be identified during a one-time task assignment, but the impact to these issues may be limited within a task assignment.
If your case requires closer follow-up because of adherence or employee-employer issues, complexity of the medical treatment or there is difficulty in communicating with the physician on an ongoing basis, task assignments will not be the choice for you.