As health care experts worldwide work diligently to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, GENEX Services, a national provider of managed care services, is doing its part by issuing one of the first workers’ compensation-specific clinical guidelines on treating the infectious, and potentially fatal, disease.
The guidelines, “Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses: Ebola and Marburg,” go beyond
clinical directives provided by WHO, the CDC or Official Disability
Guidelines to provide additional guidance employers and carriers need
from a workers’ compensation perspective.
“GENEX developed the guidelines at the requests of both internal and external providers and nurse case managers looking for workers’ comp-specific treatment protocols to treat Ebola,” said Dr. Maury Guzick, GENEX branch manager and physician advisor.
“In the workers’ comp field, there are significant risks to healthcare workers, emergency responders, laboratory and airline staff, among others,” said Guzick. “These workers are more likely to come into contact with an infected person or their bodily fluids. With so many workers at risk, it’s critical that guidelines are developed and made available to help treat infected workers and prevent the spread of diseases such as Ebola and Marburg throughout the U.S. workforce.”
Ebola and Marburg are rare RNA filoviruses that cause severe hemorrhagic fever. The viruses are highly contagious, but only through direct contact with an infected person. After the Ebola infection invades the body, it replicates quickly causing vomiting, diarrhea and rash, and can also lead to both external and internal bleeding. As the virus spreads, it can lead to decreased function of the liver and kidneys. The patient’s blood, body fluids and tissues become highly infectious.
In the U.S., healthcare practice in treating Ebola has been directed through guidelines issued by the CDC. The GENEX guidelines offers workers’ comp professionals detailed diagnostic criteria, treatment approaches, red flags, coding information and return-to-work protocols to help the infected patient get back to work. GENEX plans to make the guidelines public in January.