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  Issue 1 (2006)

  Dermopharmacy News
Occupational Skin Diseases

Swift Intervention by Dermatologists may Impede Loss of Job

Speedy help is double help: by means of an improved reporting procedure and more rapid initiating of preventing and therapeutical measures it is to be prevented that employees suffering from occupational-related skin diseases lose their position. The so-called optimized dermatological procedure provides this measure which had been jointly developed by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Berufs- und Umweltdermatologie (ABD) (Study Group for Occupational and Environmental Dermatology) and the Hauptverband der Berufsgenossenschaften (Association of Occupational Cooperatives) and introduced after conclusion of a pilot phase in Northern Germany by 1 October 2005 on federal scale.

Skin diseases are the most frequent occupational affections - nearly 20,000 new susceptible cases are reported to the occupational associations yearly. "Skin complaints are not only a negative spearhead in view of case numbers but they equally cause the highest costs under all occupational skin diseases", professor Dr. Swen Malte John of Osnabrück University explained on the occasion of a press conference by the ABD in Hamburg in January 2006.

The economic total expenditures by invalidity and productive shortfall amount to 1.8 billion Euro per year according to information by John. "Frequently occupationally contracted eczema or allergies compel to job abandonment or entail dismissal by the employer", according to John. Re-educations are cost-intensive - approximately 100,000 Euro for personnel and material costs per measure - and miss the aim I many cases in view of the current employment situation.

Early intervention required

These figures and the fact that occupational dermatoses are often avoidable by timely prevention measures call for an effective procedure aiming at early intervention by the dermatologist. He is not only to document the respective occupationally acquired skin disease but also to initiate preventive and therapeutical measures as early as possible.

In case the occupational coherence to the disease is unambiguous, all measures can be settled to the debit of the respective casualty insurance company. The increased expenditure in terms of time for the completing of the dermatologist's report (form F 6050) and the advisory service of the person concerned is now reimbursed by 50 instead of 29 Euro at an earlier point of time. The settlement of a report about the treatment process (form F 6052) is remunerated by additional 25 Euro.

Moreover, tests necessary for the clarification of the diagnosis can be balanced separately according to UV-GOÄ. As the patient is entitled to the application of all "means suited" preventively and therapeutically, also skin protection agents and non-prescriptive drugs can be prescribed for him on BG prescription. In addition, the patient does not have to pay practice or prescription fees.

Pilot study confirms
patient contentment

The new dermatologists' report revealed to be very suitable in practice in a pilot study performed in North of Germany. The quality of information is statistically distinctly better than of earlier questionnaires, test supervisor John concludes.

Beyond 75 percent of the patients involved in the study assessed the treatment by the dermatologist positively, more than 70 percent rated the skin protection measures suggested by the dermatologist as helpful "These results make obvious that the mutual efforts by casualty insurance companies and dermatologists are esteemed by the persons concerned", John sums up.jk



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