What’s your workers’ comp IQ?

By J. Mark Melhorn, MD

A decade ago, I outlined the need for additional education and training for orthopaedic surgeons in the area of workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation makes up 20 percent of the general orthopaedist’s practice, 65 percent of a hand surgeon’s practice, and 90 percent of the independent medical examiner’s practice.

Although orthopaedists have unique training in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, their formal training in the sciences of epidemiology, biomechanics, ergonomics, impairment evaluation, disability management, workplace prevention, and medical-legal testimony has been limited. For this reason, the AAOS annually sponsors “Occupational Orthopaedics and Workers’ Compensation: A Multidisciplinary Perspective,” and combines it every other year with “Expert Witness: Solving the Legal Quagmire.” This year, the two courses will be held in early November in Phoenix.

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