Catastrophically injured patients and ICBC’s rehabilitation department

On average, 500 people a year suffer severe or catastrophic injuries as a result of car crashes in BC. The rehabilitation process for these individuals can be long, complex, and expensive. Fortunately, the support and collaboration of an integrated team of medical and rehabilitation professionals can increase the chances of a successful recovery for these patients.

Since 1973, ICBC’s Rehabil­itation Department has been working with the medical community to help individuals severely injured in car crashes to maximize their recovery and regain their independence. ICBC was the first North American insurance company to establish a dedicated rehabilitation department. Today, with offices across the province and a team of 50 caring and well-trained professionals, we help more than 2700 clients annually. 

We work with the clients who have sustained:
• Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury
• Severe complex orthopedic injuries
• Spinal cord injuries
• Amputation
• Brachial plexus injury
• Burns
• Blindness

Our rehabilitation coordinators and rehabilitation benefits administrators work with the client’s treating physicians to help develop, implement, and monitor a rehabilitation plan. The rehabilitation department staff ensure the timely administration of the no-fault accident benefits in order to appropriately provide medical and rehabilitation equipment and services. These services may include the coordination and delivery of:

• Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech therapy.
• Mobility aids and appliances (e.g., wheelchairs, prosthesis, orthosis).
• Return-to-work planning and vocational retraining.
• Home renovations and vehicle adaptation.
• Attendant care.
• Payment of temporary total disability benefits (wage loss replacement).

Over the last 35 years, ICBC’s Rehab­ilitation Department has developed a reputation for being pro­fessional, responsive to individual client’s needs, and community-minded through our collaborative work with physicians, clients, families, lawyers, professional associations, client advocacy groups, and volunteer support groups. 

We recognize that the timely and effective coordination of rehabilitation services and equipment is extremely important, and that this is very much dependent on advice and recommendations received from the treating physicians. Our staff welcome the opportunity to work with the treating physicians. We can assist physicians by arranging and funding some rehabilitative services and equipment. 

We can also assist physicians in some cases by arranging and funding rehabilitative assessments such as functional capacity evaluations, neuropsychological assessments, and vocational assessments. Where appropriate, and with written consent from the client, we are pleased to share with the attending physician copies of rehabilitation reports that ICBC has commissioned. 

Individuals who suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of car crashes face a long recovery and often long-term, serious side effects. ICBC shares a common goal with the medical community of trying to maximize each person’s recovery. We believe it is im­portant to continue to build effective working relationships and encourage teamwork when developing each individual’s recovery plan. 

ICBC’s rehabilitation staff encourage physicians to contact them regarding our mutual clients and we will pay the consult fee (A00098) for your time. 

If your patient has been catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle crash and you are interested in our assistance, please call the Rehabilitation Department toll free at 888 388-9882.  

—Steven Comberbach
ICBC Manager, Rehabilitation Services Vancouver Island

Stephen Comberbach,. Catastrophically injured patients and ICBC’s rehabilitation department. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 8, October, 2008, Page(s) 441 - ICBC.

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