Workers’ compensation and the working poor: Occupational health experience among low wage workers in federally qualified health centers

Source: Liza Topete, Linda Forst, Joseph Zanoni and Lee Friedman, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, January 31, 2018
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From the abstract:
Background:
The working poor are at highest risk of work-related injuries and have limited access to occupational health care.

Objectives:
To explore community health centers (CHCs) as a venue for accessing at risk workers; and to examine the experience, knowledge, and perceptions of workers’ compensation (WC) among the working poor.

Methods:
Key informant interviews were conducted among patients in waiting rooms of rural and urban CHCs.

Result:
Fifty-one interviews of minority workers across sectors identified 23 prior work-related injuries and mixed experiences with the WC system. Barriers to reporting and ways to overcome these barriers were elucidated.

Conclusions:
Patients in CHCs work in jobs that put them at risk for work-related injuries. CHCs are a good site for accessing at-risk workers. Improving occupational healthcare and appropriate billing of WC insurance should be explored, as should best practices for employers to communicate WC laws to low wage workers.