APWU Discourages Members From Participating in ‘Align Networks’

January 26, 2012

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The APWU “strongly discourages” union members from participating in physical therapy through Align Networks, Human Relations Director Sue Carney says. The Postal Service notified the union in October that Align would offer physical therapy to employees with work-related injuries and illnesses on a voluntary basis.

The Postal Service has been touting the benefits of the program on the work-floor recently, but Carney advises workers to avoid the program. “As a contract provider, Align Networks can share information with the Postal Service that would otherwise be protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, including information that is unrelated to workplace injuries,” she warned.

“In addition,” she said, “Align Networks’ goal is to reduce costs for employers.” A list ofemployer services posted on the company’s Web site includes: aggressive management of visit attendance and compliance; notification to employing agencies when employees miss appointments; support in determining medical necessity; assistance in continuance-of-care dispute resolution, and help with therapy claim closure.

Perhaps the most objectionable service Align offers employers, Carney says, is providing them with Worker’s Compensation Clinical Guidelines for treatment frequency and duration based on an employee’s condition “to allow employers to determine the appropriateness of continued care.

“The good news is participation in this program is strictly voluntary,” Carney said. “Employees cannot be forced nor should they be pressured or misled into using Align Networks for any treatment services.” Injured workers should seek out therapists that provide medical services based on patient needs in cooperation with the claimant’s treating physician, Carney said.

For more information about the program, click here.

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