‘We need to step up our game,’ chiropractor says
By Tony Gottschlich, BWC Public Information Officer
When it comes to health and wellness, Ohio is in pretty shabby shape, a Cleveland chiropractor told hundreds of health care providers Thursday afternoon at the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Medical & Health Symposium.
Dr. Otto Schmidt, referring to America’s Health Rankings for 2017 by the United Health Foundation, said Ohio ranks 39th in overall health and wellness compared to the rest of the country.
“I saw where Ohio is ranked, and it kind of took me back,” Schmidt told an audience at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. “I find that a little disconcerting as a health care provider. We have to ask ourselves, can we do better?”
Schmidt pointed to several health indicators where Ohio ranks near the bottom: cancer deaths (40th), heart attacks (39th), smoking (45th) and drug deaths per 100,000 people (46th). But Ohio ranks highly in the number of primary care physicians (13th) and number of hospitals (5th).
“We need to step up our game,” Schmidt said.“In workers’ compensation, we need to focus not just on the trauma of the injury but on the wellness of the injured worker.”
That means looking at the total person and recognizing “red flags,” he said.These includes physical and behavioral barriers that complicate an injured worker’s recovery, co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes and smoking, anxiety, poor attitude and other self-defeating behaviors.
He said getting injured workers back to work takes a team effort from all stakeholders involved,including physicians and other health care providers, injured workers and their support network, and even employers.
Schmidt, who also serves on BWC’s HealthCare Provider QualityAssurance Advisory Committee, noted two BWC programs that incorporate those elements, physician-driven models that stress coordinated care. They include the Enhanced Care Program, a pilot program focused on knee injuries, and the Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention rule, which offers coaching and counseling sessions to help patients overcome negative thinking, poor coping skills and other behavioral barriers to recovery.
BWC also is addressing worker health and wellness with a free program it launched Feb. 1. The agency’s Better You, Better Ohio! program offers health risk assessments, biometric screenings, personalized health plans, coaching and more to Ohioans who work for companies with 50 or fewer employees in certain high-risk job classifications, such as construction, manufacturing, agricultural, and others.
“We all have to be on the same page,” Schmidt stressed. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t go from 39th to the top 10. We just need to step up our game.”
The health symposium, which runs in conjunction with BWC’s Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, continues through Friday.