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Q: What can I expect from Northwestern University if I am injured at work?
A: The University will pay for medical treatment and will pay you for time lost because of the injury. The University will also make every effort to return you to work as quickly as possible, either to your regular job or to duties defined by your physical capabilities during rehabilitation.
Q: How much will I be paid if I am injured at work and unable to return to my regular duties?
A: Injured employees who are unable to work in any capacity are entitled to "temporary total disability" (TTD) payments equal to 2/3 of their normal salary with a maximum that is currently $885.53 per week (this figure is adjusted for inflation periodically by the Illinois Industrial Commission). The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act states that TTD payments shall not be made for the employee's first three days off work unless the employee is off ten or more days, however Northwestern University does pay full-time employees for the first three days off. TTD payments are non-taxable and are made bi-weekly on regular University pay days. TTD payments are based on time reports so it is essential that a copy of the initial time report and any subsequent time reports be sent by the employee's supervisor to the Claims Division for all pay periods during which an employee is entitled to receive TTD. Employees who return to a modified duty position will be paid 100% of their normal salary.
Q: What about benefits?
A: Personal floating holidays, sick time, and vacation do not accrue while an employee is on temporary total disability. Because the Payroll Division of Human Resources does not issue TTD checks, deductions for benefits such as health and dental insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, credit union, union dues, and the retirement plan are not made. It is thus the injured employee's responsibility to make sure that he or she makes payment to the Benefits Division, the Credit Union, and/or the employee's union to ensure continued coverages. Benefits do accrue normally for persons on modified duty.
Q: What type of accidents need to be reported?
A: All accidents and injuries, even if no medical attention is required, must be reported to your supervisor. By failing to report an accident you jeopardize your workers' compensation benefits, especially in the event symptoms do not appear for an extended period of time.
Q: Are all injuries at work considered workers' compensation?
A: No. To be a workers' compensation case (compensable) the injury must be job related and arise as a result of one's work activities. Examples of injuries sustained that may not be compensable are: injuries while on break or at lunch; injuries from falls when entering the workplace; injuries sustained during intentional violations of safety rules or from starting a fight with a co-worker; and injuries sustained while impaired by drugs or alcohol. This is a rather complicated legal area that frequently changes with new court rulings. All Northwestern cases are carefully reviewed and written notification is made to employees when the case is deemed non-compensable. Claim denials can be appealed to the Director of Risk Management.
Q: Can I see my own doctor?
A: Yes. The Workers' Compensation Act requires employers to pay for up to two physicians, other than the employer's designated providers, selected by employees for treatment of work related injuries. It is important to note that payment to an employee-selected physician can only be made upon receipt by the University of a medical report from that physician. If medical reports are not provided, payment remains the employee's responsibility.
Q: What do I do with medical bills and/or doctor's reports?
A: All medical bills and physician's reports should be forwarded to the Claims Division at 2020 Ridge Avenue, Suite 240, Evanston Campus. If you have already paid a bill for a doctor visit, prescription, etc., submit a receipt showing that payment has been made and you will be reimbursed.
Q: Will I be paid for work time taken when I go for follow-up treatment (doctor visits, physical therapy, etc.)?
A: Full-time employees will be paid for visits to University-designated providers. Those employees seeking treatment from providers other than those designated by the University will not be paid for treatment during work hours, however they may use sick time for this purpose. Part-time and temporary employees must use sick time, if available, for all follow-up visits to medical providers during working hours.
Q: What should I do with bills I might receive from collection agencies?
A: There are two main reasons that you may receive a bill from a collection agency. The first is when a treating physician or hospital fails to submit required medical reports to the University. If this happens, forward the bill to the Claims Division. The University will submit a second request to the medical provider, however, payment will only be made upon receipt of medical status reports. It should be noted that the University-recommended medical provider, Evanston “Omega,” invoices the University directly so employees should never see either a bill or collection notice from Evanston “Omega.” The second situation in which you may see a bill from a collection agency occurs when a University preferred provider organization (PPO) who has contracted with the University to discount bills, receives the agreed upon discounted payment and fails to credit a patient's account for the discount taken. Under these circumstances, submit the collection notice to the Claims Division so the problem can be resolved as quickly as possible.
In the event you have any other questions regarding the University's Workers' Compensation Program, work status, doctor's appointments, bills, benefits, pay status, etc., call either the Claims Division: (847) 491-5582, or the Office of Risk Management: (847) 491-5610.