WorkPartners is pleased to announce that Dr. Vicky Young, MD, MPH has joined the WorkPartners team! Dr. Young received her Board Certification in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health in 1992 and in Occupational Medicine in 1997. She has been practicing Occupational Medicine since 1991. Dr. Young is making an impact and exemplifying excellence in the workers’ compensation arena and we are excited to feature her in this week’s interview!
WP. Hi Dr. Young! Please give us a quick summary of your background.
VY. I did my undergraduate work at UC- San Diego, where I first fell in love with the San Diego area. I returned to Wisconsin for medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW), where I completed my MD, MPH, and residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine, the latter with a focus on Occupational Medicine. I remained at MCOW in the Preventive Medicine Department as an Assistant Professor for their Occupational Medicine MPH program for 2 years, before entering private practice in Indiana in 1991. I started the Occupational Medicine Department at the Elkhart Clinic in Elkhart, Indiana; growing the program for 5 years. During that time, I completed board certification in both General Preventive Medicine/Public Health and Occupational Medicine. For family reasons, I moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1996 to expand the Occupational Medicine Program at Lexington Clinic. Due to restructuring of the Lexington Clinic and for my family, I decided to return to Southern California. I had great respect for Dr. Browning and the work he was doing at WorkPartners, at that time with Tri-City Medical Center. I joined the program in early 2000. I remained at WorkPartners until 2010, when, due to restructuring of the program, I decided to do Utilization Review to expand by Occupational Medicine experience; working at State Compensation Insurance Fund for 2 years before returning to clinic practice in 2012 at US HealthWorks as Center Medical Director for the Escondido Clinic. I remained there for 4 years when I decided to return to a dedicated Occupational Medicine program at Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego. Due to a family issue and the long commutes, I opted to return to US HealthWorks, now Concentra, as Center Medical Director for the Carlsbad clinic in 2018; close to my home in North San Diego County. I still desired to return to a dedicated Occupational Medicine program, focused on the specialty of Occupational Medicine, providing a well-rounded program to the employees and employers of San Diego County. I was impressed with the commitment to, and active practice of, that philosophy with the current WorkPartners Occupational Health Specialists. I am thankful to be able to join this program and return to working with Drs. Browning and Ma.
WP. You have such an impressive work history. What is it about WorkPartners that enticed you to join our team?
VY. As noted, I worked with Dr. Browning previously and deeply respected his dedication to the field of Occupational Medicine and the quality of care he provided to employees and employers in the community. I have been watching the rebuilding of WorkPartners under the direction of Drs. Ma and Browning and have been so impressed with the focus on quality of care for employees, commitment to maintaining excellent communication with employers and claims adjusters to maximize outcomes for employees, and the commitment to being a resource to local employers to promote disease/injury prevention as well as treatment. Occupational Medicine has been a medical specialty since 1956, and it is very important to me that I am working in an environment that promotes the ideals of Occupational Medicine in promoting the health and safety of the workforce in this community. I feel I am joining a program that reinforces my passion for the field and the care of a vital patient population for the community.
WP. What are your clinical areas of interest or specialty?
VY. I am board certified in Occupational Medicine and Preventive Medicine/Public Health which both fall under the American College of Preventive Medicine. I was drawn to Occupational Medicine for the clinical aspects but also for the preventive side of the field, as I believe a healthier worker is also a more productive worker. As a field, Occupational Medicine addresses the whole worker. It is not enough to treat an injury. It is also important to help prevent recurrent injury and promote overall health in the worker. The crisis of COVID-19 has really underscored the high levels of chronic illness in our nation and nation’s workforce. I believe it is part of our role to be a resource to the companies to address questions, concerns, and emerging workplace health issues. Participating in maintaining a healthy workforce is, to me, a vital community service.
WP. What is your philosophy of care?
VY. My philosophy is to maximize patient recovery in order to return a worker to productive work as quickly as possible for the patient’s and employer’s benefit. A clear work history and mechanism of injury to determine work-relatedness is vital and should lead to an accurate diagnosis, which clarifies the treatment plan and maximizes response to the treatment plan. The diagnosis and treatment plan should be reviewed each visit to make sure the patient is improving as anticipated or any delay in recovery addressed and treatment plan adjusted to keep the case moving forward. Functionally based work restrictions should be addressed at each clinic visit to progress as the patient improves. I firmly believe that the patient’s recovery improves when they can remain in the workforce and continue feeling productive during the treatment course. I believe that quality care and communication between all parties involved in a work injury (employee, employer, claims adjuster, and provider) promote rapid recovery and return to work, benefiting all parties.
WP. What is the most common misconception regarding workers’ compensation?
VY. That it is a slow and cumbersome system because the company, adjuster, and/or “company doctor” do not care about the worker. In my experience, when all parties (employee, employer, adjuster, and provider) are all on the same page of expedient quality care to expedite recovery and return to full productive work, the Workers’ Compensation system functions smoothly with positive outcomes for all parties. This process, however, can be stalled when any of those parties has a different agenda.
WP. How do you see the interaction between provider and employer and claims admin?
VY. One of the most important concepts in Occupational Medicine is the recognition of the triad of care for the employee, employer, and claims administrator. Clear communication between the all three parties is essential in maximizing employee recovery and return to productive work. Optimum care of the employee occurs when all parties have the same goals for expedient quality care for the injury and early return-to-work, modified, or full duty during the course of treatment.
WP. What are your personal hobbies and how do you keep a healthy work/life balance?
VY. I love walking and hiking in this beautiful area. I also love reading and going to movies (well, movies at home right now). I am still working on a better work-life balance. The demands of medicine along with my practice style have often made that difficult. Part of my reason for joining WorkPartners Occupational Health Specialists is the commitment to improving the health and wellness of all workers, including their own, with a goal to allow a better work-life balance. I believe that a better work-life balance improves employee happiness and productivity, which leads to more efficient and compassionate patient care and, consequently, a more positive patient experience.
WP. Thank you, Dr. Young, for your insights. It is so awesome to have you part of the team!