Workers Compensation News in Brief

Faster Growth in CA WC Indemnity Costs-Per-Claim
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently released a study showing the impact of the recession on California's workers compensation system as indemnity costs per claim grew faster from 2007 to 2009 than in prior years.
The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for California, 12th Edition, indicated “Indemnity costs per claim – payments for lost wages, loss of earning capacity, or permanent impairment or disability – grew at an annual rate of 7 percent between 2007 and 2009, after the large decrease of nearly 30 percent from 2002 to 2005 due to reforms. This growth in indemnity costs per claim was faster than the average growth rate from 2005 to 2007, and indicated some impact of the recession in California.” [WCx]
Broad Metrics Show VA to be a Lower Cost State, but Medical Costs per Claim Higher than Most
Another Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study shows Virginia is a lower cost state, largely due to a lower frequency of claims. The study, Benchmarks for Virginia, CompScope™ 12th Edition, found the average cost of medical care per claim for injured workers in Virginia is among the highest.
A WCRI release noted, “ ‘This study will help stakeholders in the Virginia workers’ compensation system understand how the state compares with others on income benefits, costs, use of benefits, duration of disability, litigiousness, benefit delivery expenses, timeliness of payment, and other metrics,’ said Ramona Tanabe, Deputy Director and Counsel. ‘The benchmarks in this study will provide them with a valuable tool in monitoring the effect of system features.’ “
Broadspire Offers News and Ideas You Can Use
Broadspire recently offered its winter review newsletter to provide readers with tools to lower total loss. It includes:
1. An article on thriving with an aging workforce.
2. A recap of recent research from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).
3. A case study on Teddy Award Winning program JELD-WEN.
4. A look at the challenges and opportunities for the Energy and Power sector.
5. Dr. Jake reviews three medical articles.
6. An executive message from CEO and President Ken Martino.
Further, Broadspire recently noted, “Almost 30 percent of all workers compensation claims are musculoskeletal disorders, according to a 2008 U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistic (BLS) study. Each claim resulted in a median of 10 days of lost work and a cost of thousands of dollars.”
And offered this in relation to the company’s egronomic analysis products, “Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis and several other conditions may result from tasks involving repetitive motion, vibration, excessive force and awkward positions. Our vocational case managers, trained and certified in ergonomics, create strategic improvement plans to prevent these injuries. An assessment can also help ensure that injured employees who have returned to work don’t re-injure themselves. By thoroughly examining your company and work processes, we uncover your hidden risk.”

WCRI Study Provides Baseline to Measure Impact of 2011 Reforms on NC WC
Baseline for Evaluating Impact of 2011 Reforms in North Carolina: CompScope™ Benchmarks, 12th Edition, by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) shows baseline data to measure the future impact of 2011 reforms on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, including key cost drivers.
The WCRI release finds, “North Carolina had higher income benefit payments per claim among the 16 states in the study, slower return to work resulting in longer duration of temporary disability, and larger lump-sum settlements than in many study states.”
“ ‘After major reforms, many states utilize WCRI studies to quantify whether the reforms met their goals and if unintended consequences developed,’ said Ramona Tanabe, Deputy Director and Counsel. ‘WCRI intends to monitor post-reform performance of the North Carolina system,’ “ according to the release. [WCx]
It went on to say, “WCRI observed that when policymakers and stakeholders evaluate the impact of the reforms, they must keep in mind that the recession may have shaped what they observe about system performance metrics. … The new study examines how overall medical costs per claim in North Carolina compare to other study states and how those costs have changed over time. New fee schedule rules, effective July 2009, reduced maximum hospital reimbursement rates.”

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:






Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.


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