Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Comorbidities and ClaimsFebruary 6, 2017
Harbor Health Systems published a study about the impact that comorbidities have on claims costs. The results were based on an analysis of over 7,000 Workers’ Compensation claims that were associated with comorbid conditions, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, addiction, mental health, tobacco use, and others. The study found that the claims that were associated with these conditions involved a lengthier claims process, higher medical costs, more temporary total disability (TTD) days, and higher legal and surgical fees. The following provides a closer look at the most common comorbid conditions mentioned above:
- Obesity: According to the American Medical Association, more than 97 million American are obese. From a Workers’ Compensation perspective, obese employees had claims costs that were seven times higher than employees with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI). In addition, obese people tend to experience musculoskeletal issues affecting the lower back, knees, and hips. Obese employees tend to also suffer from other comorbid conditions like hypertension and heart disease, so the medications they take can prevent them from being able to safely use non-opioid pain relievers because of potentially dangerous drug interactions.
- Diabetes: According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million people suffer from diabetes, a condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. When not properly treated, diabetics can face complications including blindness, kidney failure, and amputations due to poor circulation. It is important to consider which medications to use and which ones to avoid. For example, steroids are often used to reduce inflammation, but they can significantly elevate blood sugar levels.
- Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension can lead to more serious conditions – including stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure – if left untreated. Close to one third of adults in the United States suffer from hypertension, yet only about half of those people have it under control. Many medications that are commonly prescribed in Workers’ Compensation claims, including pain relievers and antidepressants, can aggravate high blood pressure.
Addiction and Mental Health Issues Also Count as Comorbidities
- Substance Use: Employees who abuse alcohol and tobacco are more likely to have other health conditions. For example, tobacco use is associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Both alcohol and tobacco can interact with certain medications. If you are taking an anticoagulant, alcohol can interact with the effectiveness, preventing the blood from being able to clot.
- Mental Health Issues: Close to 20 percent of adults suffer from mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Injured workers often experience a high level of stress as a result of chronic pain, financial concerns, and feelings of hopelessness. If it becomes necessary to prescribe an antidepressant, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can treat the depression as well as providing pain relief.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist in All Aspects of the Claims Process
If you need to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, and you have underlying conditions that could affect your claim, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamiltion as soon as possible. Our skilled legal team has extensive experience in cases like this and we will walk you through the claims or appeals process, addressing any questions or concerns that may arise. Our top priority is to secure the maximum benefits you deserve and we will not stop until we achieve that goal. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.