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Local medical provider helps injured employees

Health: HealthWorks treats workers that have job-related injuries

Posted: February 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group provides medical care and claim management to companies whose employees have experienced work-related injuries.

The Valencia-based company, founded in 1995, has more than 130 medical centers in 13 states, 15 additional work-site centers and 2,000 employees, including nearly 350 affiliated physicians.

One of the largest private providers of occupational health care in the country, the medical organization manages lost work time and specializes in early return-to-work, injury prevention and wellness programs for employers.

Additionally, U.S. HealthWorks provides urgent-care service at many of its locations, including the Valencia office.

Local doctors
Two physicians opened medical clinics in Saugus and Canyon Country in 1985. Dr. Larry Barnhart and Dr. Ralph Farinella operated the medical centers until Farinella’s retirement in 2000.

Dr. Barnhart opened a Valencia clinic in 1992, closing the Canyon Country location. He assumed responsibility for both locations.

U.S. HealthWorks purchased the medical centers in January 2009.

“The Valencia center had so much business it was bursting at the seams,” said Diane Yu, vice president of marketing and sales for U.S. HealthWorks.

U.S. HealthWorks relocated the center to a billing center it had at Stanford Avenue and Rye Canyon in the industrial center. The organization expanded, placing both the medical center and the  company’s national billing center at the same location.

Dr. Barnhart serves as medical director of the Valencia medical center.

Five of the original employees still work with him in serving local residents, Yu said. They are Nancy Emerson, center manager; Patti Wooten, sales consultant; Debbie Kemp, Arlene Armstrong and Jill Morrison.

Workers’ compensation
U.S. HealthWorks provides employment-related services to companies and workers’ compensation services.

The company offers pre-employment testing, physical exams and drug testing; injury prevention and education; and ergonomic and job-site assessments for businesses.

Doctors at the medical care provider are board certified with specialties in occupational medicine.

Although a worker injured in California can go to any licensed medical provider, companies that work with occupational medical providers can speed the process of returning employees to work.

The providers know all the ins and outs of workers’ compensation claims.

By law, an employer must pay employees the entire duration they’re away from work due to a work-related injury, Yu said.

“A private doctor could delay getting the workers’ comp paperwork processed,” Yu said. “A company wants to get the employees onto a treatment plan and back to work as soon as possible.”

For less severe workplace injuries, an employee may just need to be checked out and treated, making them eligible to go back to work or back for modified duty.

A doctor in a private practice might not be aware of all the options. And for employees without personal doctors, they might take a trip to a hospital emergency room. Both scenarios could delay an employee’s earlier return to work for a company.

“From the employer’s perspective, this is not the most efficient use of their employees’ time,” Yu said.

Private care
It isn’t common for an occupational medical provider to offer urgent care, as does the Valencia center, to all residents in the community.

“Most providers are located in very industrial areas, not bedroom communities,” Yu said. “In Valencia we’re in a highly residential area and can provide care to both residents and businesses.”

Private patients have access to medical care for injuries that are not work related. U.S. HealthWorks accepts insurance or assists the uninsured by offering a cash payment program.

Local offices
U.S. HealthWorks relocated its headquarters to Valencia a few years ago from Georgia. The corporate office is located at 25124 Springfield Ct., Suite 200. They can be reached at (661) 678-2600 or www.ushealthworks.com.

The two medical centers are located at: 25733 Rye Canyon Road, Valencia, (661) 295-2500 and 22840 Soledad Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, (661) 799-1776.

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