Abstract

The competitive marketplace and the demand for accountability by health care payers are strongly influencing the need for work hardening programs to participate in program evaluation and produce outcome data. This study compiled program performance data on 22 work programs in Wisconsin over an 11-month period. Client data related to demographics of gender, age, occupation, insurance coverage, diagnosis, services clients received, patterns of attendance, and outcomes upon discharge were collected. Results described the majority of the clients treated in the work hardening programs to be men, aged 26 to 46 years, with occupations classified in the miscellaneous category according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The reimbursement source for the majority of work program clients was worker’ s compensation. The most frequent condition treated was injury to the lumbar spine. Most clients were treated and discharged within a 3-week period. More than half of the clients served returned to their usual and customary jobs.

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