At Safety National, we assist our policyholders in the management of their complex and catastrophic workers’ compensation claims with the goal of obtaining the best outcome for the injured workers. Our approach focuses on the collaborative team effort that is needed to achieve successful outcomes.
A recent success story cumulated when injured worker, Kenneth Black, received the 2015 Comp Laude Award for Injured Worker of the Year. Kenneth injured his back in 2001 and eventually had two surgeries that were not successful. Because of chronic pain and the medications he was receiving, he was unable to participate in many of the activities of daily life that we all take for granted and he spent most of his time lying in bed. His wife, Karen, retired from her job early to care for him.
The case was first reported to Safety National in February 2014 – over 13 years after the accident. Safety National was initially instructed that there was no hope in turning this claim around because Kenneth Black’s condition had been stable for several years. Safety National administered the Best Doctors Pain Remedy program with the hope that it would increase his ability to function and decrease his dependence on opioid pain medications. Safety National, Best Doctors, and the field case management team from Lombardi Associates, worked together and concluded that the best approach would be for Kenneth to participate in a functional restoration program at Brooks Rehabilitation in Florida. The program combined weaning off pain medications with physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and learning alternative coping mechanisms for pain management.
Kenneth’s support system remained an important element of his recovery. His wife traveled from their home in New Jersey to Florida to be with him during the rehabilitation program. His family came to visit him there and they spent part of Christmas at Disney World together. After nearly 30 days in rehab, he was discharged. Brooks Rehabilitation gave him an award for being an exemplary patient under their care. He has continued to engage with Brooks Rehabilitation where he will speak with other potential patients about his positive program experiences.
Today, Kenneth is significantly more active and enjoying a better quality of life. He exercises regularly with his wife by his side every step of the way. In the Comp Laude Award nomination, Kenneth’s wife relayed a story about being able to slow dance with her husband at a wedding recently. This was an activity they had not been able to do since before his injury 14 years ago.
At a ceremony on December 05, 2015, Kenneth was recognized by WorkCompCentral as their Comp Laude Injured Worker of the Year for his determination in overcoming disability and being an inspiration to others. His rehab team and his wife joined him on stage to celebrate his wonderful achievement.