Medical Consultant Services

Medical Consultant Services offered through Workplace Health, Corporate Human Resources (CHR), provide Human Resource staff with information on an employee’s abilities and restrictions/limitations in order to facilitate a return to work.

Medical Consultant services are offered in accordance with:

  • Article 33 of the Master Agreement between the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE); and

  • The Government of Alberta’s HR Directives.

Human Resource staff referring employees to be medically examined by a physician according to either of the above documents will request an appointment with a Medical Consultant when contacting Workplace Health - CHR.

Medical Consultant Reviews/Examinations

Medical Consultant reviews/examinations can:

  • Determine whether an employee has a medical condition.

  • Provide an opinion on the impact of a medical condition on an employee’s ability to safely perform his/her job or attend work regularly.

  • Provide an opinion on the impact of prescription drug use on an employee’s ability to safely perform the duties of his/her position.

  • Make recommendations on an employee’s abilities, restrictions, and appropriate job accommodations.

  • Rule out whether a medical condition is contributing to an employee’s absenteeism.

  • Recommend other medical assessments to determine an employee’s ability to perform his/her regular job or alternate work (i.e. ergonomic or functional assessment, work site visit, etc.)

  • Assist to clarify limited or unclear medical reporting from a family doctor or specialist.

  • Assist in arranging an Independent Medical Examination when medical opinions on an employee’s medical condition, abilities, and restrictions conflict.

Medical Consultant reviews/examinations cannot:

  • Replace the need to discuss performance problems with an employee.

  • Change medical opinions already provided through LTDI medical examiners.

  • Be a surprise to the employee.  Please explain the purpose of the examination to the employee prior to referring.

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Referral Process

1.

If you (as the HR representative for the work unit) believe that proceeding with a Medical Consultant examination may be the appropriate step to take, contact a Workplace Health Consultant in Corporate Human Resources to discuss the issue/case.

 
2. If an appointment is to be scheduled, the referring Ministry Human Resource Consultant will need to:
 
  (a)

Speak to the employee about the reasons or rationale for scheduling the upcoming appointment, and explain that attendance is required. (This should take place prior to sending the referral to Workplace Health.)

After you have spoken to the employee of the upcoming appointment, forward the following documentation to your Workplace Health Consultant.

The employee's: 

  • Address, telephone, email

  • Employee number

  • Date of birth

  • Family physician and his/her address/phone (copies of medical notes the employee has submitted)

  • Date of injury/illness onset

  • Currently at work? If not, date last worked

  • Job description – provide a brief description of the critical job demands associated with the position that would assist the physician in better understanding the position. (i.e. employee carries a firearm, driving requirements, decision making, dealing with public, handling stressful situations, work outdoors etc.)

  • If the job is above sedentary level, a physical demands analysis (PDA)PDF icon is good to have.

Include the following:

  • Short letter/email that describes reason for referral - i.e. what are the concerns that led to the referral

  • Any questions, over and above the standard questions (see link below), for the LifeMark physician to answer.

  • Any absenteeism trends

  • Any dates the employee is not available for the assessment/appointment (i.e. away on vacation etc.)

  • Your updated contact information including work cell phone number if applicable.

 
3. A Workplace Health Consultant will complete a (LifeMark) Referral Form for Medical Assessments and forward to LifeMark Health.
 
4.

Once the Referral is made, the process is as follows:

  • LifeMark Health will call and email you a letter with appointment details advising of the date, time and location, for you to give to the employee. You will want to watch for this call and email so you can action them immediately and avoid cancellation fees.

  • You confirm with the employee they will be able to attend that appointment date.  NOTE: Notify LifeMark immediately (to avoid cancellation fees) - confirmation of the appointment or if not able to attend on the date/time provided.

  • The employee attends the appointment. Cancellations within 2 business days are charged to your ministry at 50% the estimated cost, and  at 100% if cancelled or no shows within one day or same day, so please ensure employees are aware of the need to attend. (Can refer them to Article 33.05 if needed.)

  • The LifeMark physician calls you, the referring HRC, to discuss the employee’s fitness to work and prognosis.

  • LifeMark forwards a completed medical report the employee's family physician.

  • LifeMark forwards the Fit to Work/IME report (no medical diagnosis information) to Workplace Health.

 
5. Workplace Health will review the medical report from LifeMark, and then forward it to the referring HRC. After you (HRC) have reviewed the report, you can contact Workplace Health for further clarification or discussion if required. It will then be your responsibility to provide a copy of the report to the employee and have a discussion with her/him about expectations.

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Sample Work Situations that May Require a Medical Consultant Examination

(a) The employee is absent frequently or for prolonged periods due to illness.
 
(b) The employee cannot satisfactorily perform duties because of illness or disability.
 
(c) The reasons for an employee's illness are vague and the treating physician has refused to provide further clarification.
 
(d) The employee is demonstrating repeated illnesses or leaves following a return to work and the worksite needs to confirm the employee’s ability to continue working.
 
(e) Substance abuse is suspected and is affecting an employee’s performance.

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Alternatives to a Medical Consultant Appointment

Workplace Health Consultants can provide you with information on available programs or services that may better assist with workplace health and wellness issues.  Below are some other options to consider:

1.

If an employee is demonstrating behaviors that indicate personal or psychological distress such as anger/sadness at work, has a noticeable deterioration of their work performance over a short period of time that you suspect may be related to personal issues, and/or is isolating themselves at work, consider:

 
  (a)

Speaking to the employee about the Employee & Family Assistance Program and make an informal recommendation for them to access these services.

 
  (b) Recommending that the employee see his/her physician to discuss the symptoms, as they could be indicative of a medical condition requiring treatment.
 
2. If the employee is demonstrating extreme emotional behavior that they have difficulty controlling, has acknowledged drug and/or alcohol use (including on-the-job impairment), or are threatening violence or suicide:
 
  (a) Speak to a Workplace Health Consultant about the Workplace Referral Program (WRP), which offers counseling support to employees to improve behavior while assisting managers with employees’ performance management.
 
 

Also consider accessing these GoA on-line resources:

 
3. If the employee is receiving LTDI benefits, Great West Life’s (GWL) medical consultant and/or independent medical examinations determine an employee’s prognosis. If you disagree with information provided by GWL, you will need to speak to the GWL Case Manager or Ingrid Ruth, LTDI Manager – CHR, at 780-408-8440.
 
4. If the employee has provided a medical note/report that is not clear or has questionable validity, contact the employee to obtain further medical information or clarification. If you are unable to obtain further details, contact a Workplace Health Consultant to discuss options that may assist in your case.
 
5. If you have a medical note identifying an employee can return to modified duties but need assistance identifying what those duties will be, contact a Workplace Health Consultant to discuss optional medical assessment services available.

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Links

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Last Review / Update: 2014-03-28

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