Not all attending physicians are aware that injured workers are covered under their industrial insurance claim in the state of Washington for psychological problems that are caused by or exacerbated by their industrial injury or occupational disease. A referral for psychological consult is made for an injured worker who already has an accepted psych diagnosis on their claim or when there is a suspected psychological problem associated with their claim or interfering with treatment or recovery.
Some examples of mental health disorders that may be causally related to workplace injuries include depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, post concussive syndrome, pain disorder and adjustment disorder, among others. Washington state law mandates treatment for psychological disorders that are either caused by or exacerbated by the workplace injury or occupational disease.
There may also be mental health issues that are completely unrelated to the industrial injury but may interfere with the injured worker's ability to participate in or benefit from medical treatment or rehabilitation services. Washington state law allows treatment to be provided as an aid to recovery in those circumstances, at the discretion of the claims manager.
A psychological consult requires documentation of the objective basis for the referral and prior authorization by the claims manager.