This Thursday, I will participate in a very exciting project. It is called The 60 Summits Project, a multidisciplinary, dynamic approach to preventing work disability.
According to The 60 Summits publication, “Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed,” periods of prolonged disability from issues like depression and low back pain are becoming increasingly prevalent. Yet the founder of The 60s Summit, Dr. Jennifer Christian, believes that only a small number of the medically excused days off work is medically required—meaning work of any kind is prohibited. Other days off work, where the worker could be productive in some manner, occur from various non-medical problems like medical referral delays, communication breakdowns, a lack of predefined transitional duty positions, or management reluctance to return the injured worker.
The total annual cost of disability paid under systems like Social Security Disability Income, short- and long-term disability coverage, sick leave and workers’ compensation coverage runs $100 billion in the
Spearheaded by Dr. Christian, a board-certified occupational medical doctor, this needless disability is what The 60 Summits Project hopes to address. The Summits’ goal is impressive: stage a summit in each state and Canadian province to develop a new paradigm designed to return or keep workers who are ill or injured employed and on the job. According to the Project’s website, the summits will:
“Catalyze on-going action for positive change in the state/province that will:
- Improve outcomes of health-related employment disruptions
- Prevent needless work disability and promote continued employability
- Increase economic productivity and control benefit costs.”
Those attending the summit are key players in the return-to-work process. This includes employers, disability advocates, case managers, workers’ compensation and disability claims payers, injured workers, doctors, attorneys and policymakers. Each summit will have about 75-to-100 attendees who, once completing a pre-conference questionnaire, will be assigned to working groups to develop consensus on various return-to-work issues.
Most contributors to these historic summits have been invited; however, to learn how to participate or to sponsor the event in your state, visit this link. Six summits have already been held in