The three-minute videos helping your employees receive better medical care

The health care industry is evolving every day with rapid growth particularly in digital health technologies like smart watches, calorie counter apps and pedometers. Patients can benefit from this transition when there is a united front between quality care and digital innovation.

Workplace diagnosis body map and logoKnowing how to diagnose a workplace injury like trigger finger requires training and experience in occupational medicine. That’s why Texas Mutual is addressing the need for innovation in the treatment of workplace injuries. Texas Mutual’s medical director, Dr. Nicholas Tsourmas, is helping to lead this effort, and one of the ways he is doing so is through Workplace Diagnosis. The tool is the first online, real-time patient diagnosis video tool for physicians treating workers’ comp patients.

By visiting or using our mobile app, physicians can select an area of the body to watch a video and learn about specific injuries. Each video averages three minutes and features Dr. Tsourmas with a patient discussing a common workplace injury and offering tips on how to diagnose it.

Dr. TsourmasDr. Tsourmas was recently recognized for his achievements in the workers’ compensation health care field when he received the Medical Professional of the year award at Work Comp Central’s Comp Laude Awards. His work is helping ensure that Texans with occupational injuries are accurately diagnosed and treated, and have options for modified job duties during recovery.

Dr. Tsourmas has been with Texas Mutual since 1993. Since then, he has traveled throughout the state to give onsite training to our network providers and educate the medical community on workers’ comp and musculoskeletal ailments. The same training he shares with providers throughout the state is shared with Texas Mutual’s team of adjusters to improve the claim process for injured workers and give our team the tools to understand doctors’ recommendations.

At Texas Mutual, we put a lot of effort into preventing workplace injuries, but when they do occur, we are dedicated to making sure that the injured workers we cover receive the quality care they need. Innovative resources like Workplace Diagnosis are a part of that collective effort. Dr. Tsourmas’ recognition is reflective of his leadership in these areas and speaks to our ongoing commitment to creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Celebrating this year’s dividend payout

This year, Texas Mutual awarded almost 50,000 business owners with dividend checks in a company-record $260 million dividend payout. Dividends are a way for us to reward safety-conscious employers, and we’re proud to have done so for 19 consecutive years. Take a look at some of this year’s dividend recipients in the slideshow below.

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Dividends can be used to help offset workers’ comp costs, re-invest into safety equipment and training, or just give a boost to your bottom line. However you choose to utilize your dividend, we love hearing your dividend stories. Be sure to share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and use #TXMDividends.

Qualifying policyholders are rewarded dividends based on two components: safety and loyalty. Take a look at the dividend video below to see how the dividend process works.

Safety in your workplace is where you have the greatest opportunity to make an impact when it comes to dividends. Texas Mutual offers thousands of free resources, including our new e-learning online training modules, to help you launch safety programs, educate employees, and maintain safe environments. Visit the safety resource center of your account. Our safety services support center is also available at 844-WORKSAFE Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you identify the best resources for your business or connect you with a safety services consultant.

Another way to improve your chance of receiving a dividend is to have a solid return-to-work program in place so that when accidents do occur, you have a plan for minimizing losses and getting workers back on the job. Texas Mutual has a number of resources to help with this, and our recent post on creating a return-to-work program from our Your Claims Questions Answered series is a great place to start.

These resources and plans may seem like small steps, but they could add up to a dividend for your business. Find out more about Texas Mutual’s dividend program by clicking here.

Control your costs by controlling your e-mod

Unless you’re an insurance agent or work in the industry, insurance terminology can seem confusing or full of jargon. Your experience modification rate, also known as an e-mod, EMR, or experience modifier, is a good example. Put simply, your e-mod represents the workplace safety record, but there is a lot that goes into calculating it.

We discussed e-mods, how they are calculated, how they affect your premium, and what they mean for your business in our July webinar. These monthly webinars are one of the ways we cut through insurance industry jargon to help you understand workers’ compensation. They take place on the first Friday of every month. Watch the presentation and see what you can do to keep control your e-mod, or read on for our key takeaways.

Experience Modifiers

Click to watch the presentation

What is an e-mod and what is its purpose?

An e-mod is a numerical factor that reflects a company’s historical cost of injuries and future risks. It is used to calculate premium.

E-mods serve two main purposes. The first is for comparative analysis. An e-mod reflects the past loss experience of a company compared against other employers in the same industry. This comparison generates the e-mod, which is used to adjust the workers’ compensation premium up or down. The second purpose is to create incentive in the workplace for employers to maintain a safe work environment by preventing hazards and properly training employees.

Loss experience is a more reliable predictor of future losses for larger premium, so we do not apply an e-mod to employers who have less than $5,000 in premium.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while e-mods are used to calculate premium, they aren’t a great measure of how safe a company actually is. We explain this in greater detail in There’s Nothing Wrong with a 1.0 and 10 Reasons to Stop Using E-mods to Evaluate Safety.

How your e-mod is calculated

An e-mod compares an employer’s actual losses (experience rating) against the expected losses for their industry as a whole. To determine your company’s expected losses, your company’s payroll and class codes are taken into consideration.  A simple explanation of how your e-mod is calculated is actual losses divided by expected losses for the industry.

E-mod calculation

Your current e-mod takes into account claims data from the most recent three-year period. The image below is a representation of how your losses can affect your e-mod and illustrates how losses can fall outside the three-year window. Because three full years of data is needed to determine your e-mod, losses don’t immediately affect it and they eventually drop off.

3 years of data

How your e-mod affects your premium

E-mod ratings are determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Most states, including Texas, use the NCCI to calculate experience modifiers. A score of 1.0 represents an average risk and means the company should perform as expected for the industry. A multiplier of less than 1.00 is a credit mod and indicates a company is safer than average within its industry. A multiplier greater than 1.00 is a debit mod and indicates a company that is less safe than average. The chart below shows examples of how your experience modification factor can affect your premium.

Credit debit e-mod

What you can do to control your e-mod

Although accidents happen, there are steps you can take to keep your e-mod under control. Encouraging safe practices in your workplace and implementing return-to-work programs can help. Read our tips below:

  • Create a culture of safety. A positive safety culture starts at the top.
  • Report injuries early. Allow adjusters and doctors to address the injury as soon as possible. This helps to ensure the injured worker gets the necessary medical attention, so that an injury doesn’t become more serious.
  • Implement an injury and illness program. Visit the safety resource center in your Texas Mutual Online account to take a safety program assessment. You’ll answer a few questions about your company’s operations and potential hazards, and receive a sample safety program.
  • Train employees on safety topics. Provide a new employee orientation, refresher training, and remedial training as needed. Our safety resource center offers 2,000 free resources, including more than 200 e-Learning online training modules. Make sure to keep safety training records for OSHA reporting.
  • Investigate accidents and near misses. Accident investigations can prevent safety incidents from occurring again. Attend our August webinar to learn how to conduct job safety analysis to identify hazards.

If you still have questions about e-mods

We encourage you to talk to your agent, utilize NCCI resources, or view our recent blog on experience modifiers from our Your Claims Questions Answered video series.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What can the Texas Star Network do for my business?

Texas Mutual offers a workers’ compensation heath care option called the Texas Star Network. Comprised of medical professionals with the return-to-work goal in mind, our network is one of the many ways we save you money.

Watch our next video in the Your Claims Questions Answered series on what the Texas Star Network can do for your business and take a look at the key benefits below.

Benefits of the Texas Star Network:

  • Policyholders receive a discount of up to 12 percent off their premium
  • Patients treated by an in-network doctor return to work eight days sooner on average
  • Injured workers receive top quality medical care with lower than average costs
  • It’s easy to find in-network providers through the network app or online directory
  • You can reduce your premium by lowering claim costs

We encourage you to consult your agent to determine if the network is the right choice for your business, but keep in mind you do not have to wait until your policy renews to enroll. The network comes with responsibilities for you and your employees.

Visit for information on how to enroll in the network, and to find other network tools.

Your Claims Questions Answered is a six-part video series covering the most commonly asked claims questions. We’ve featured each episode on the blog with our key takeaways. You can watch the full series here or visit our recent posts about return-to-work programs, e-mods, the claims process, and reporting an injury.

Your Claims Questions Answered – How do I create a return-to-work program?

It’s our goal at Texas Mutual to get injured workers back to a productive life as soon as medically possible. With a return-to-work program, you can save on claim costs, business expenses and injured workers can heal sooner and get back to contributing to the team.

We cover how to create a return-to-work program in our next episode of the Your Claims Questions Answered series. Watch the video below and take a look at the steps to create a return-work program in your workplace. Keeping these steps in mind will help you be prepared if the unexpected happens.

Get started now.
A return-to-work program should begin before an injury occurs. For all your employees, make sure you have a current record of their daily job duties, such as a job description, and encourage cross training. That way if an injury occurs that requires leave time, your team can make sure the job duties get fulfilled and you don’t miss a beat.

It may seem like a quick fix to bring someone new in, but the time and expense of hiring a new employee to replace an experienced worker is 50 to 150 percent of their salary.

Determine modified job duties.
The treating doctor will determine the injured worker’s ability to perform job duties. If they are unable to return to the same job, determine what parts of the job they can still do or find a different area in which the employee can make a positive contribution.

Make an offer to the injured worker for the modified position. It’s best to put it in writing, and it should include a DWC Form-073 (Texas Workers’ Compensation Work Status Report) completed by the physician.

Keep open lines of communication.
A little bit of motivation can go a long way for someone recovering from an injury. Stay in touch with the employee and check in with them. This can help them avoid feelings of isolation and the disability mindset. If the employee is back on the job with modified duties, see how they are adjusting to the new role.

Open communication is also important with Texas Mutual. If you have questions or concerns about the injured worker’s claim or recovery, call us at (800) 859-5995.

While every case is different, one of the best ways to control workers’ compensation costs is with a return-to-work program. Call the Texas Mutual safety services team at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723) for help getting started or visit for more resources. Watch the Your Claims Questions Answered series here and read our key takeaways from how claims affect your e-mod, reporting an injury, and your role in the claims process.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What do I do if an employee gets hurt?

In our new YouTube video series Your Claims Questions Answered, we address the most commonly asked claims-related questions. We covered your role in the claims process recently on the blog. Next up, we are discussing what to do when an employee gets hurt while at work. Watch the video and take a look at our key takeaways below.

Address the employee’s health

If an employee is injured on the job, the first thing you should do is assess the situation and determine if it is an emergency. Call 911 if needed and make sure the employee gets timely care to facilitate a quick recovery.

Using the Texas Star Network can help employees get the care they need and can help you manage claim costs. Injured workers can search for a treating doctor, pharmacy, or specialist through the Texas Star Network’s provider portal online or through the Texas Star Network’s mobile app.

Report the claim to Texas Mutual

To report an injury, we will need a DWC-1 Form known as the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness. We’ve made it easy to report claims to Texas Mutual online, by phone, fax or mail. Whichever way you choose to report, it’s best to make a report as soon as you can, so Texas Mutual can help you with the claim. The law allows employers up to eight days to report the injury.

Keep open lines of communication

Open communication supports a culture of safety by empowering employees to voice their concerns. Make sure employees know how to report safety hazards and how to access the resources they need to be safe on the job.

In the event someone is injured on the job, getting them back to a productive life is always best. Stay in touch with the employee throughout their recovery to help mitigate their feelings of isolation and maintain team comradery.  A return-to-work program can be started before an injury occurs. Visit the Return-to-Work page at for more resources.

Training and preparation

There are steps you should take to be as prepared as possible for when a workplace injury occurs. Making safety a habit starts with providing the right training for your employees to do their jobs safely. Texas Mutual has free resources available for you and your employees including webinars and e-Learning online training courses.

Assign a point person to take the lead during injury incidents and create an action plan that is accessible for your employees. Practice drills can help your workplace prepare for an emergency situation and can help you identify any shortfalls in training.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you be prepared when a workplace injury occurs. Next in the Your Claims Questions Answered series, we’ll cover how claims affect your e-mod.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What’s my role in the claims process?

When a worker is injured on the job, an employer may have a lot weighing on their mind. Determining the next steps shouldn’t be one of those things. At Texas Mutual, we provide you with the resources you need to understand the claims process and help employees get the care they need so they can recover and return to a productive life. That’s why we launched a new video series called Your Claims Questions Answered, which addresses the most commonly asked claim-related questions quickly and clearly. In this six-part series, we’ll cover your role in the claims process, reporting an injury, experience modifiers, return-to-work programs, the medical network, and reporting fraud.

To kick off this series, watch “What’s my role in the claim process?” and review our highlights below on how to manage your claims.

Keep an open line of communication with Texas Mutual and the injured employee. This helps the injured worker from feeling isolated, increases trust and fosters loyalty. Check in with the employee to let them know you care about their recovery. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way to motivate an injured worker to get back on their feet.

We’re here to help you and the injured worker throughout the whole process. Our licensed claims adjuster will be there for the injured worker every step of the way. As a large carrier, we’ll work to keep your claims costs down and we can help you to create an injury recovery plan. You can also login to to check the latest status of a claim.

Build a return-to-work plan. Injured workers out six months or more have only a 50 percent chance of ever returning to work. Implementing a return-to-work plan engages the worker and saves you money. For more resources, visit the Return-To-Work page at

Stay tuned for our next installment of Your Claims Questions Answered where we will discuss how to report an injury, or take a look at the whole series now. For safety resources to help you prevent workplace injuries, login to and visit the Safety Resource Center.

A team effort promotes recovery and saves business

If you look forward to going to work every day, oftentimes it’s because of the people you work with. That’s how it was for Josh Paulin. As a valued member of the Classic Construction team, Josh’s special relationship with his employer provided the momentum for his successful return-to-work story. While sealing a roof on the job, Josh fell and nearly lost his life. Josh’s coworkers watched the traumatic accident in devastation as paramedics fought to save him.

When you’re faced with a life-changing event like Josh was, the best outcome is getting back to the life you love. For Josh, getting to that point required learning to walk, talk and read again. Watch Josh’s story and see how Texas Mutual Insurance Company and his employer were by his side every step of the way.

Josh’s story is a perfect example of how valuable a return-to-work initiative is for businesses and injured workers. As a seasoned employee, Josh’s employer was eager to get him back on the team. While continuing rehabilitation, Josh went back to work with modified job duties. He was able to contribute his unique expertise to the company surrounded by coworkers who supported his ongoing recovery. Meanwhile, Josh’s employer had peace of mind over the future of his business.

When a worker sustains life-changing injuries, coming to terms with the new way of life can be a challenge, but a return-to-work program provides countless benefits. Employees can focus on their recovery rather than stress about their financial situation. By being surrounded by team comradery, they avoid isolation from peers and symptoms of depression. Giving injured workers purpose and surrounding them with familiar faces to celebrate recovery milestones promotes quicker healing.

2017-04-05_16-34-45For employers, implementing a return-to-work program maintains production by keeping experienced workers on the job. Bringing on a temporary employee or hiring someone new requires time and effort. Meanwhile, the business loses productivity. Employers who invest in return to work can minimize lost productivity and control workers’ compensation costs, while also encouraging the ongoing recovery of a valued employee.

It was a team effort getting Josh back on the job after his traumatic accident, but it made all the difference. For more resources on return-to-work programs and implementing them in your business, visit the Return-To-Work page at

Chuy’s Story of Recovery and Success

When Jesus “Chuy” Duarte went to work in the oilfields of Odessa four years ago, he never imagined it’d be a day that would change his life forever.  Having been sent on a special job three hours away, he headed out in his vehicle and what he remembers next is waking up in a hospital a month later and being told he would never be able to walk again.

However, Chuy had a different idea of the direction his recovery would take, and Texas Mutual was there to support him as he took the journey. Take a look at Chuy’s story and see how his tenacity, and Texas Mutual’s support, got him to where he is today.

Accidents like the one Chuy experienced happen all too often across Texas, even though Texas Mutual and the employers we support work hard to prevent them. When these tragic events do happen, what’s important is maintaining a focus of getting back to a productive life. This requires perseverance from those hurt on the job, strong support and advocacy from Texas Mutual, and the commitment from employers to create return-to-work plans to help workers return to productive work when possible. Returning to a productive life is always in the best interests of those affected by workplace accidents.

chuy_1It has been four years since the devastating accident and Texas Mutual continues to be involved in ensuring Chuy’s wellbeing. Chuy attributes part of his recovery to the support he received from Texas Mutual. “That’s what got our family through the harsh times,” he said.

See more injured worker success stories here, and visit to download our free return-to-work tools for employers.

Reasonable accommodations: Lessons from the gridiron

Jason Pierre-Paul is among the mere 1.6 percent of college football players gifted enough to make it to the National Football League. Pierre-Paul, better known as JPP, is a pass-rushing defensive lineman for the New York Giants. In layman’s terms, he makes a living – a darn good one – making life difficult for the opposing team’s quarterback.

Sample reasonable accommodations
Injury Accommodation
A warehouse worker with a shoulder injury had trouble reaching material overhead. Storage areas were rearranged so heavy and frequently used materials were accessed at waist level.
A forklift driver with rheumatoid arthritis had difficulty grasping the steering wheel. The forklift was fitted with a spinner ball to eliminate the need for grasping.
A data entry clerk was having difficulty sitting for long periods due to his back impairment. He was accommodated with a sit/stand workstation, an ergonomic chair and a copy holder.
A medical technician who was deaf could not hear the buzz of a timer, which was necessary for specific laboratory tests. An indicator light was attached to the equipment.
A police dispatcher with heart disease had fatigue, which worsened when he did not keep a regular sleep schedule. He was accommodated with a dayshift instead of having to rotate shifts.
Credit: Job Accommodation Network

Like anyone who ascends to the game’s highest level, JPP has worked hard all his life, and he can spend his money on whatever he sees fit. And that’s exactly what he did last summer, when he purchased a U-Haul van full of fireworks for a Fourth of July party at his home.

Despite sage advice from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, JPP orchestrated the show himself rather than hiring a professional. And that was just fine until a bottle rocket exploded in his hand. Witnesses say a green and white light instantly swallowed JPP’s 6′ 5″, 278-pound frame.

If you follow the game even marginally, you know JPP survived the ordeal relatively intact, with one notable exception. Doctors had to amputate his right index finger, as well as part of his thumb and middle finger.

When you spend the better part of your life learning to use your hands to move opposing players out of your path, losing even one digit is devastating. So it’s no surprise JPP panicked in the aftermath of the accident.

It’s not that he can’t do his job anymore. He just has to learn how to do it differently. And that is the perfect jumping off spot for two key points:

  1. Your employees’ personal lives inevitably carry over into their work lives.
  2. Injured employees might not be able to return to their normal duties immediately, but that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to productivity. You might be able to work with the treating doctor to come up with reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to a job, the work environment or processes that enable a person to work. For JPP, that means a wrist strap fitted with hooks to help him lift weights and a glove custom-fitted for his right hand.

The adaptive devices industry grows every day, so it’s easier than ever to identify and implement reasonable accommodations. Some are simple, and some require creative thinking.

Basic solutions include one-handed keyboards to accommodate hand injuries, chairs that allow workers with spinal conditions to alter sitting positions, software that increases text size for people with visual impairments, and adjustable-height work surfaces.

Advanced solutions include re-engineered packaging machines, modified cutting devices and lightweight, plastic dumpster lids. The only limits on adaptive devices are our own imagination and the laws of physics. It’s all about finding what works for your employee. And that’s where they can help.

Texas Mutual return-to-work specialists recommend employers collaborate with their employees to identify reasonable accommodations. Employees know their jobs better than anyone, and they are in the best position to tell you what will work for them.

Reasonable accommodations can be costly in the beginning, but they ultimately pay off for employees and the bottom line. If return-to-work sounds like a worthy investment for your business, take advantage of the free resources you have access to.

Texas Mutual’s website includes a comprehensive guide to implementing all aspects of a return-to-work program. The Texas Department of Insurance also offers a range of free material on its website.

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