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February 2018

Musculo-Skeletal Wellness

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The health of a worker’s musculo-skeletal system is not getting any better. In fact it is getting worse with no signs of improvement.

Mary Catherine Person, President of Healthscope Benefits, a large privately held TPA considers musculo-skeletal health as one of their top three health issues regarding cost and frequency of claims.

Recently, Jennifer Saddy, Director, Workers Compensation, Corporate Insurance & Risk Management for American Airlines has stated in December 2017 that shoulder injuries are now American Airlines number one injury in terms of frequency and cost of claim. The shoulder claim has replaced the low back claim as their number one claim.

Why is this? IPCS has reported that compared to 10 years ago the absolute shoulder strength of the new hire worker is 18% weaker today and knee strength is 23% weaker. Ironically, the luggage carried by passengers today does not weigh 20% less.

Wellness programs, to be effective, must also include musculo-skeletel wellness. Biometric screens to objectively evaluate and track muscular strength, based on a substantial database to correlate the strength to risk for disease and injury, is critical.

Maintaining a healthy muscle mass will reduce the frequency and cost of medical and injury claims.