St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute here has responded to new workers' comp rule changes by lengthening its "pain program" and changing eligibility timing. Separately, it's considering a name change to promote the fact that it has a significant accreditation.
The program, currently called the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, offers services to injured workers who suffer from some form of chronic pain, particularly those who haven't been successful in getting back to work for several months after they've been hurt, and those who have returned to work, but still need help coping with pain. St. Luke's is located at 711 S. Cowley.
The St. Luke's program has recently undergone some changes to reflect Washington state Department of Labor & Industries rule changes that took effect in November, says Anthony Whitney, manager of St. Luke's pain rehabilitation and psychology department. Those changes include extending the length of time a worker participates in the program to 20 days, from 18, and accepting workers into the program three months after they've suffered an injury, rather than six months, as the old rules allowed, Whitney says.
While in the program, patients put in six- to eight-hour days that can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, education, psychology, vocational counseling, biofeedback, and other services. The program is designed to help patients function, increase their mobility, and manage their lives better with pain, and get them back to work, Whitney says.
Patients in the program are referred to St. Luke's by doctors, L&I claims managers, vocational counselors, and others, he says.
An average of about 15 patients per month are referred to the program, he says. In 2008, an average of 6.5 patients per month completed the program. St. Luke's anticipates finishing this year averaging about 7.3 patients per month completing the program, he says.
Currently, 17 St. Luke's employees spend a majority of their time working in the program, and four others spend about a quarter of their time doing so, Whitney says.
The pain program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), which is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of medical rehabilitation programs, Whitney says.
That accreditation enables St. Luke's to describe the program officially as a Structured Intensive Multidisciplinary Program, or SIMP, something not all pain programs can do, Whitney says. SIMP is a term L&I allows to be used for pain programs that are authorized to help workers under the state workers' compensation program.
Because of that, St. Luke's is considering modifying the name of its program to reflect that accreditation, perhaps by adding the SIMP acronym or some other part of that formal title to the current name, Whitney says.
"This should help us stand apart that much more" from pain programs offered by other providers that don't have CARF accreditation, he says.
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