work, burnout, insurance Stressed At Work? New Code Allows Doctors To Bill For ‘Burnout’ – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Burnout has been officially recognized as a medical issue by the World Health Organization.

Work-related stress is an occupational phenomenon, according to Dr. David Agus, head of USC’s Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine.

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Agus says the news isn’t shocking – but now, there’s a code for burnout doctors can use to help patients improve their health.

“And so what it means is if you and I have a conversation about burnout, we can actually make that diagnosis and bill the insurance company for it,” Dr. Agus explained. “Just like there’s a code for diabetes, cancer, there’s now a code for this. So it enables researchers to look at the correlations.”

So what is exactly is burnout? The World Health Organization says it’s a syndrome resulting from long-term stress that hasn’t been dealt with. Here’s how you know if you suffer from it:

  • You have feelings of exhaustion, no energy.
  • You are mentally distant from your job or negative or cynical about your job.
  • You can’t work as effectively or productively.

“I think if colleagues, employers and supervisors were kinder to each other, that would lead to less burnout,” said ER physician Anna Cheh.

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“I myself being in Human Resources and having lots of tools and resources to deal with stress, I had to take a year and a half off sabbatical, time for me,” added H.R. Mitch Cardoza.

Before you decide to make a temporary or permanent exit from your workplace, doctors say you need to recognize that technology may be making us more productive at work, but it’s also burning us out.

“Now you come home at 5 o’clock and you’re answering emails, you check it before you go to bed, you look at them in the morning, so work is becoming all wake hours,” explained Dr. Agus.

He says employers should understand that it’s not about the numbers of hours worked, but how much an employee gets done. He also warns if you don’t take a time-out, burnout can affect your overall health and long-term risk for diseases.

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“At the end of work, you need time off to be with your friends, to be with your family, and to have down time,” he added. “Build that into your life, it’s critical.”