By Angela Gamble and Angelina Spaniolo
Occupational health encompasses occupational medicine, and then some. Where occupational medicine is the medical prevention or treatment of an on-the-job injury, occupational health covers a variety of health and safety evaluations, surveillances and exams designed to make workers—and their environments-safe and productive.
Opening a clinic dedicated to occupational health is a rarity in itself. But when it comes to treating work-related injuries, OAM offers a new, streamlined process unique to West Michigan and even the state.
“The ultimate goal of treating an injured worker is getting them back to a productive role as soon and cost effectively as possible,” says director of the OAM Occupational Health Clinic Dr. John Machuta.
“At OAM, we are able to move patients from evaluation to therapy to surgery, if needed, and back to work much quicker because we can manage all the different areas of care.”
Out with the old
Typically when a worker is injured, they are sent to a physician for evaluation. If the injury requires surgery, the physician refers the patient to a specialist. The patient schedules an appointment and a surgery date with the specialist. This process could take days, weeks, or even months depending on the nature of the injury or specialist’s availability. Post-op, the patient will likely need therapy, which they may or may not be available through the physician’s or the specialist’s practice.
This broken system of shuffling patients from doctor to doctor, practice to practice wastes time and money. “People do better, families do better, business does better when workers are working,” says Dr. Machuta.
At OAM, patients are treated one-on-one by an occupational health specialist from injury to recovery. If sub-speciality orthopaedic care is needed, a full spectrum of services are within reach through OAM. Given that 75% of work injuries are orthopaedic in nature, OAM is best qualified for the job. “We are the occupational health specialists, the physical therapists,” Dr. Machuta explains. “If we decide you need a specialist or therapist, you don’t have to wait for a call back. We’ll schedule you before you leave.”OAM is able to streamline the process because of our widearray of orthopaedic sub-specialists. “There are very few orthopaedicprograms in the nation with over 30 surgeons. We have ankle, knee, shoulder, spine, hand … no other orthopaedic group has that complete line of care,” says Dr. Machuta.
Our orthopaedic specialists and sub-specialists are board-certified and highly experienced. For our occupational health specialists, our standards are no different. Dr. Machuta believes that putting occupational health,orthopaedic and rehabilitation specialists all under one roof is the model for occupational health. “We believe larger orthopaedic clinics that have a wide enough variety of specialists will be adopting this model,” he says. “It’s good for the employee, it’s good for the employer, it’s good for insurance companies. There’s no downside to it.”
4665 44th St SE #A-190 * Kentwood, MI 49512
Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 5 p.m