Occupational Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Occupational Medicine?
Occupational Medicine is the subspecialty of Preventive Medicine concerned with the health, safety, and performance of workers.  In addition to providing medical care to workers with work-related injuries and illnesses, Occupational Medicine specialists work with businesses, employees, regulators, insurers, public health, and other occupational safety and health professionals to create safer workplaces.

Q: Why is an Occupational Health program important to an employer’s bottom line?
A: Healthy workers are more productive, and work-related injuries are very expensive.  The direct costs of injuries that are easy to measure, like the cost of medical care and insurance costs, are small when compared to indirect costs associated with workplace disruption, retraining, lost productivity, etc.  When injuries do occur, they need to be managed well to return the injured worker to a state of health and productivity as soon as possible.  A skilled Occupational Medicine clinical practice will work with the worker, employer, workers compensation insurer, and the medical system to help the injured worker regain his or her functional abilities and return to work. 

Did you know?

The 2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index states that the most disabling workplace injuries cost industry $50 billion a year in direct workers compensation costs.

According to the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a national, non-profit organization based in San Francisco, CA, the full costs of absence are more than four times total medical payments for employers in IBI’s Full-Cost Study when the productivity lost from absence is added to wage replacement payments. In fact, IBI states that on average, employers leave an equivalent of 85% of net income on the table in excess benefit costs compared to companies with best-in-group performance in industry comparison groups.

At University of Utah Health Care Occupational Medicine Clinics (OccMed), our physicians almost never take injured employees off of work.

Q: What are your hours of operation?
A: Our clinics are open Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm

Q: What if my employee gets injured after-hours?
A: Urgent Care services are available at both of our clinic locations. At the Redwood Health Center and at the South Jordan Health Center, Urgent Care hours are from 5pm-9pm Monday-Friday, and 9am to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday. 24-hour Emergency Department services are available at our South Jordan Health Center location and at the University of Utah Hospital.

Q: What is the recent change in DOT testing?
A: In April 2012, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new rule on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). The rulemaking establishes training, testing, and certification standards for medical examiners who certify Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers for their Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs). The final rule took effect on May 21, 2012 with compliance required by May 21, 2014. FMCSA will create an online national registry of examiners who have met the certification requirements. For more information, please click here

Q: What is the difference between first aid and a recordable event?
A: First aid is defined as emergency medical treatment for somebody who is ill or injured. It is typically given before more thorough medical attention can be obtained. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) specifies a range of services that constitute “first-aid” level of care.  Medical care that exceeds these first-aid measures can trigger a recordable event.  According to OSHA 1904.7, a recordable event is usually characterized by death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.

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Q: Can you help us assess the physical ability and/or medical qualifications of our applicants to perform a job?
A: Our clinics perform post-offer/pre-employment and hazardous materials examinations to determine if prospective employees meet the physical and medical requirements to perform the essential functions of a job.  These evaluations can include physical ability tests that mimic particular functions of a job.

Q: Why is pre-employment fit-for-duty testing a good idea?
A: Pre-employment fit-for-duty testing is used to determine an applicant's physical suitability for the job at hand. Comprehensive tests are custom-designed for the specific job function and are typically used to identify pre-existing injuries.

Q: What Health and Wellness Services do you provide?
A: Programs can be customized to include health risk assessments, nutrition, fitness, weight loss, health coaching, classes & workshops, and executive physicals. 

Q: What insurances do you accept?
A: We accept all workers’ compensation insurances for injury and illness care. For employer requested services which are not billable through insurance, we accept cash, check, purchase orders, and major credit cards.

Q: What travel medicine services do you provide?
A: We work with the University of Utah’s International Travel Clinic to help travelers access a complete line of immunizations and travel medicines based on destination, duration of travel, activities planned and pre-existing medical conditions.