Based in Dallas, occupational medicine manager Dr. Melissa Tonn serves as the president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group, P.A. In addition to helping US employers develop employee wellness programs, Dr. Melissa Tonn has extensive experience in disability management.
There are many types of disability benefits programs, with both short- and long-term disability insurance being the most frequently used. Short-term disability (STD) insurance replaces all or some of an employee’s income, typically between 60 and 75 percent, when a temporary disability arises. To deter abuse of the program and encourage the use of paid time off for short absences, most STD programs have a waiting period, such as one week, before benefits start. The median length of time US employees use short-term disability coverage is 26 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is often offered as continued form of income replacement after STD insurance runs out. Some LTD programs pay benefits to individuals with permanent disabilities until they reach retirement age or become eligible for Social Security disability benefits, while others have an expiration period of around 24 or 36 months. Approximately 72 percent of employers offer LTD insurance to their employees, and most pay the full premium for the plan.
The president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group, P.A., in Dallas, Texas, Melissa Tonn is board-certified in occupational medicine. The author of many medical publications, Dallas-based occupational medicine manager Melissa Tonn works with companies on disability management and the development of optimal employee health and wellness programs.
Companies can take several steps that will lead to improved employee health in the long-term. Employee wellness programs should promote physical activity and self-care through daily movement breaks and even daily short walks outside. Breaking up the sedentary time spent at a computer can not only improve focus, but also reduce the occurrence of muscular and skeletal disorders. Another idea might be to incorporate a work-out or physical fitness room into the office, where employees can go to stretch, work on tight areas with foam rollers, or even take a brief pause from their desk to do yoga or lift weights.
In addition to encouraging physical activity, companies should also provide good nutrition options to their staff. Instead of donuts or pastries at the conference table, consider ordering from a service that delivers fresh fruit, salads, or other healthy options. Also, make sure to stock the vending machine or snack room with foods like nuts and fruit, rather than cookies and chips, to help employees make healthier choices on a daily basis.
Board certified in occupational medicine and the author of many medical publications, Dr. Melissa Tonn is the president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group, P.A., in Dallas. Active in the Dallas community and professional associations, Dr. Melissa Tonn has an interest in studying the social determinants of health.
Various personal, economic, and environmental conditions impact health and well being, and sometimes lead to disease. Researchers recognize that these social determinants not only impact overall health, but also a person's likelihood of injury and subsequent recovery prospects.
People living with negative social determinants, such as exposure to dangerous workplaces, neighborhoods, or schools, are more likely to sustain injuries from falls, fires, burns, vehicle collisions, and domestic or community violence, according to healthypeople.gov, a website run by the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Certain community programs can reduce injury rates related to environmental or social determinants. For instance, municipalities can better design their traffic flow to reduce pedestrian, bicyclist, and traffic-related injuries. Efforts like home modifications, prescription reviews, and vision screenings can reduce fall injuries among senior citizens. In addition, investments in job training, education, and affordable housing initiatives are key to reducing crime and violence-related injuries.
The president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group, P.A., in Dallas, Texas, Melissa Tonn is board-certified in occupational medicine and has authored many medical publications. An active member of professional associations, Melissa Tonn is a diplomate with the American Academy of Pain Management.
In order to effectively combat the opioid epidemic, physicians must help patients address the pervasive effects chronic pain has on their lives. One strategy that has proven successful is self-management training, which educates patients about specific activities, behaviors, and other tactics they can use to minimize the debilitating effects of pain in their daily lives. Although self-management training led by certified trainers is an integral part of care for diabetic patients, the strategy is just starting to be used to support patients with chronic pain.
Chronic pain patients can benefit from acquiring self-management strategies that include self-monitoring compliance with medical treatment and medication regimens, goal-setting, learning to pace their physical activity and cope with the emotional toll of chronic pain, and practicing positive self-reinforcement.
A board-certified physician in occupational medicine, Dr. Melissa Tonn holds an academic appoinment in the department of population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. Melissa Tonn also serves as the chief medical officer of OccM.D. Group P.A. in Dallas, where she provides management solutions for employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation. Below are four steps employers can take to reduce occupational and workplace injuries.
1. Implement an accident prevention and wellness program. An effective program establishes clear safety guidelines specific to your company’s environment and addresses safety protocols for all levels of employees. It also offers employees instructions on how to respond to and report potential hazards in the workplace.
2. Conduct safety training. Regular safety training helps to ingrain protocols and facilitates a culture of safety awareness. You can also use safety training to teach employees about body mechanics and techniques for reducing strain injuries.
3. Offer protective equipment. Ensure access to standardized protective equipment, especially for employees who work in labor-intensive or otherwise hazardous environments. Take the time to educate employees in the proper use of each piece of equipment, and strictly enforce rules that require its use.
4. Create a safe work environment. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of workplace accidents and account for 15 percent of all workplace accidental deaths. You can significantly reduce their occurrence by maintaining a safe work environment. This includes keeping hallways clear of obstacles, providing adequate lighting in work areas, and attending to wet or slippery floors immediately.
A clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School, Dr. Melissa Tonn also heads up OccMD Group P.A., which provides occupational injury-related services for employers who have opted out of Texas Workers' Compensation. As part of the occupational health field, Dr. Melissa Tonn is a Fellow in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Fellow status is the highest designation ACOEM provides for members, and is reserved for ACOEM members who have contributed to the field in substantial ways. This higher designation allows members to serve as council chairs or officers in the organization.
To be eligible for fellow status, a member must have maintained membership in the ACOEM for at least three years. Prospective fellows also must have a board certification in occupational medicine or another ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) medical specialty, and possess an unrestricted, active license to practice medicine.
In addition to the membership application itself, prospective fellows must present two recommendation letters. One of these recommendation letters must be from a current ACOEM fellow.
In addition to her work as the president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group P.A. in Dallas, Dr. Melissa Tonn serves as a clinical assistant professor of population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. With the help of Dr. Melissa Tonn and many other team members, the Dell Medical School's Department of Population Health works to improve the overall health of Travis County's population.
The Department of Population Health's mission requires a multifaceted approach to health care and public health that addresses major issues in the community. In the field of occupational health, for instance, the department works with local employers to improve occupational health through disease prevention and management programs, ensuring a healthy and productive workforce. The department also uses a community engagement team of grassroots leaders and advocates who can reach out to the community as a whole to improve care.
Research also makes up a major component of the department's work. The school works with community health centers like Seton and Central Health to develop and test new models of care, improving patient services. Partners like these also participate in an analytics program that seeks to build a better health information structure for the county.
An experienced physician, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, specializes in musculoskeletal disorders, workers’ compensation and disability cases, and chronic regional pain syndrome.