Four Useful Tips Can Go a Long Way in Managing Workers Comp

When you have a high-exposure file that turns out better than you had expected and costs come in way under what you had budgeted for, it is easy to see the cost-savings that are associated with that loss. If you saved $50,000, that’s a nice lump of savings for your balance sheet. 
 
But those little savings you make throughout the course of a year add up as well. It’s difficult to see it in the short-run, or by the month, but looking at it over the course of a year, it can really add up to a nice savings in your budget. We discuss some ways those little savings can add up below. (WCxKit)
 
 
1-Using quality vendors to get better results:
Sometimes the better vendors just cost a bit more than others. This is usually due to the fact that they have better talent working for them, and there are associated costs included with that. However, if these more expensive vendors get your workers back to you ready for work quicker, then you save again on the wage loss issue. This means that these vendors have already paid for themselves if you weigh their costs versus the cost of wage loss for your injured worker.   Talk with your carrier about who the best vendors are in your area for IMEs, surveillance, and nurse case management. Don’t shy away from them just because their costs are a tad higher than their competition. They can save you money in the long run by providing you with excellent service, and by getting those injured workers back to work quicker than their counterparts.
 
 
2-Enhanced communication with your TPA/Carrier:
Lack of proper communication can lead to increased claims expense. If the adjuster doesn’t know that you have light duty work available, they may not be pushing hard enough to get work restrictions for your injured worker. Maybe the adjuster doesn’t know you have a dedicated medical clinic and/or physical therapy facility and failed to direct the injured party to treat at those clinic locations. 

Maybe the injured worker took vacation time or sick pay for their time off of work, and they didn’t tell the adjuster that so they got paid twice-once by your company and once by the Carrier. Although most times the adjuster will catch this, sometimes they do not. This leads to an overpayment that the carrier must try to recoup, and if they fail to do so the cost of that ultimately gets pushed to you in the result of a higher premium due to increased claim costs. Whatever the event may be, you need to be in regular contact with your adjuster.   

Perform claims reviews and ask the adjuster on each claim what their plan is for getting the claim resolved.  The more you discuss the claim, the more ideas you both can come up with, and that may be what is keeping your worker off of work. By working together, you will save costs. Most adjusters would prefer too much communication versus not enough, plus this will keep the adjuster on their toes and they will be keeping a close eye on your claims, preventing one from falling through the cracks which will further waste claims dollars.

 
 
3-Using the other departments your TPA/Carrier has to offer:
Most Carriers/TPAs have multiple departments that will work with you to reduce your exposure. Loss prevention, ergonomics, dedicated adjusters to your account, medical/nurse resources, medical bill review, etc.   All of these services may be provided free of charge by your Carrier/TPA, and the end result of utilizing these services will be lower claim cost to you. Implementing the action plans that these departments come up with is designed to lower your costs. So talk with your Carrier/TPA and find out what resources they have to help you reduce cost. They will be happy to work with you, and you will be happy since your claims expense will decrease over the course of a year.
 
 
4-Utilizing a 3rd party company for all of your RX needs:
Pharmacy costs are constantly rising. Almost every injured worker comes out of their doctor's appointment with a prescription for some medication in their hand. There are a lot of 3rd party pharmacy companies out there willing to work with you to reduce these costs if you funnel your injured workers to their pharmacy programs. Find out what kind of pharmacy management program they provide. The best sell their services unbundled.  Look for prospective as well as retrospective elements of the cost control program. This can lead to huge cost savings, even on the minor claims, and will help the most with the more severe claims, since those injuries usually require prescriptions that cost more, and they length of the prescriptions last longer. This is a significant way to reduce your costs, and you will see large savings at the end of the year. (WCxKit)
 
 
Summary:
There are a lot of ways to reduce your costs. Not only in the larger higher exposure claims, but in the small minor claims as well. If you think about it, every little savings you can make can add up to a lot by the end of the fiscal year. Remember there are ways to cut costs on every claim, no matter how insignificant the claim may be at the time. You have to think both ways, in the short term and long term. Whatever it may be, the end result is you saving money, and that is never a bad thing
 

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

ABC's of Workers Comp Management:  www.WCManual.com
 WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php

 
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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Three Areas Where Best Practices for the Employer Can Make a Difference

 
We often hear about “best practices” for workers compensation claims-handling by the adjuster. Best practices are guidelines used throughout the insurance industry to provide full benefits to the employees while protecting the insurer and the employer from too much being paid on the claim.
 
 
Best practices for the employers work in a similar manner. The following guidelines are designed to assist the employer in controlling the workers comp claims cost while providing the injured employees with all the benefits to which they are entitled.(WCxKit)
 
 
There are three areas where best practices for the employer can make a significant difference. The areas are:
 
1.     The pre-injury best practices.
2.     The injury best practices.
3.     The claim handling best practices.
 
 
1.  Best Practices Pre-injury
Prior to the time an employee reports an injury, there are many things the employer can do to prevent the claim from ever happening. Among these best practices would be:
 
1.     Have a strong safety program.
2.     Have an awards program that provides recognition and prices to the department that has the best safety record.
3.     Tie management bonuses, raises, and promotions to the safety record.
4.     Train all supervisors/managers on proper procedures for reporting an injury claim.
5.     Include an employee accident brochure outlining what the employee needs to do in the case of an injury in the new hire package.
6.     Post the injury procedure where all employees will see it.
7.     Post state-required posters on workers comp next to the poster reminding all employees that workers comp fraud is a crime and will be prosecuted.
8.     Have a medical provider network in place.
9.     Post the required medical providers (in the states where the employer selects the medical provider) or the recommended medical providers (in the states where the employee can select the doctor) where all employees will know who to treat with in the case of an injury.
10.  Have a written transitional/modified duty program ready for employees who can return to work with restrictions.
 
2.  Best Practices for the Injury Occurrence
For the employer to control cost and to assist the employee, the following best practices are recommended when an injury does occur:
 

1.     Obtain immediate medical assistance for the employee – guide the employee to the appropriate medical facility.

2.     Call the medical facility and advise an accident just occurred, the nature of the accident and the type of injury to allow the facility to be ready immediately upon the arrival of the injured employee.

3.     Advise the medical facility of the light duty jobs you can offer the employee.

4.     Do not allow the macho man to delay treatment of minor injuries – the employee will end up seeking medical care from their family doctor or hospital emergency room, the cost will be higher and the control over when the employee can return to work will be diminished.

5.     Have a goal of returning all injured employees to work within 3 days unless the employee is unable to perform any role for the employer.

6.     Report the claim immediately to the claims office with full details.

7.     Provide all necessary state forms to the claims office or the appropriate department within the state government.

8.     Place on your calendar a weekly reminder to contact the employee until the employee is ready to return to work.

3.  Best Practices Post Injury
The employer needs to continue to manage the work comp process. The best practices for the employer after the injury include:
 

1.       Contact the claims office to confirm receipt of the first report of injury, wage documentation, and any other information that should have been provided to them with the claims report.
2.     Advise the claims adjuster of the employee's prior workers comp claim history, as the approach the adjuster will take on the claim will vary significantly between the employee who has never had an injury and the employee who files his annual summer/hunting season/winter holidays work comp claim.
3.     Make the internal arrangements for the injured employee to return to work on modified duty.
4.     Arrange for the injured employee's supervisor and co-workers to discuss the claim with the adjuster.
5.     Be empathetic with the employee and let the employee know the company cares about the employee.
6.     Maintain regular contact with the employee, either weekly or after each medical visit until the employee is released to return to work.
7.     Coordinate with the employee, the medical provider and the adjuster the employee's return to work.
8.     Monitor the state filings by the adjuster and all claims related paperwork.(WCxKit)  


In summary, the above recommended best practices are not meant to be an all inclusive list of the things the employer can do to control  workers compensation claims. These suggestions and guidelines should be supplemented by other processes the employer has established to handle their workers' compensation claims.


Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 

 
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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

North Carolina: Easing Employer Responsibility for Workers Comp Claims

A North Carolina legislative committee is continuing to devote attention to legislation easing the responsibility of North Carolina employers for workers compensation claims.
 
 
According to the Associated Press, a state House committee took up the measure recently and groups of concerned workers again packed a hearing room.
 
 
Representatives of the economic interests involved remarked they are close to coming to a compromise. The state's chamber of commerce, lawyers who sue on behalf of injured workers and attorneys who defend insurance companies are working at the table.
 
 
The flash points to date include whether employers, their attorneys and their insurers should have better access to the medical records and doctor of an injured worker. open-ended
 
 
Another matter is whether to cap temporary payments for a totally disabled worker at nearly a decade.

Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Learn 15 Cost Savings From Transitional Duty in Workers Compensation Programs

Every workers compensation insurance company, every insurance consultant, LowerWC website and blog, and just about anyone else who understands the field of workers compensation recommends employers have a Return to Work (RTW) program. As an employer you hear repeatedly how a RTW program will substantially reduce your cost of workers compensation – as much as 20% to 50%.

 

Too often the workers comp experts state the employer will achieve cost savings from a transitional duty or early RTW program without explaining exactly what the cost savings are. Or, they state the RTW program shortens the life of the claim resulting in a lower claim cost and a lower experience modification factor being used in each of the next three years when your next workers comp premium is calculated. That is very true, but there are many other cost savings resulting from a transitional duty or early RTW program. Let’s consider some of them.

 

The advantages and benefits from a transitional duty or early RTW program include:

 

  1. Lower claim handling cost by shortening the life of the claim, often preventing a medical only claim from becoming an indemnity claim (this can have a majorimpact on your experience modification factor mentioned above).
  2. Lower medical case management cost as employees who return to work on modified duty have an overall faster recovery time than employees who are not offered transitional duty.
  3. A significant decrease in legal defense expenses as few employees who are back at work contest their workers comp claims before the workers comp board or court.
  4. If the employee rejects the transitional duty job, the probability of success of a request before the workers comp board to terminate benefits is much higher than when no job offer has been made.
  5. An increase in settlement leverage when a valid job offer has been made to an employee.
  6. An increase in employee morale which results in lower absenteeism.
  7. A reduction in the replacement labor costs (including the expense of locating, hiring and training additional staff to do the work of the injured employee).
  8. A decrease in overtime wages for other employees to do the work of the injured employee.
  9. The loss of productivity is minimized.
  10. Lower wage replacement cost – either salary continuation or indemnity benefits paid. Remember, sometimes employers pay employees MORE than the wages earned in their own workplace if an employee works elsewhere and then cannot work due to the injury on Job #1.
  11. Lower medical cost as the recovery time is shorter for employees who remain active after an injury. (WCxKit)
  12. A lower frequency of lost time claims as the employees know they are expected back at work as soon as their physician allows them to perform modified duties.
  13. Lower use of Family Medical Leave Act time.
  14. A reduction in American with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims.
  15. A shorter claim duration which decreases the amount of time management must devote to following the claim.

 

 

To calculate some of the monetary savings, use the Modified Duty Calculator:  http://www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

While we are focusing on the employer’s cost savings of transitional duty and an early RTW program, the employee also benefits from transitional duty. We will cover those in a subsequent article.

 

A properly managed transitional duty position will have significant cost savings for the employer. The cost savings are both immediate and in the future for the employer. The smart employer will plan for the transitional duty and early RTW program to maximize their cost savings.

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Join WC Group:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/

SUBSCRIBE TO:   Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

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.

 

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

California County Saves Workers Compensation By Large Deductible and Internal Claims Admin

The Santa Barbara (California) County Board of Supervisors approved a new workers’ compensation program reported to save the county more than $3 million over three years.

The decreased premium
is expected to take care of expenses for all the county’s industrial injuries and illnesses incurred from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.

According to the Lompoc Record
, the board decided to take advantage of a new program offered by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), providing better service at a lesser risk to the county, county staff said.

The board members
backed the change because the fire and sheriff’s departments would experience a combined $681,000 in savings. These two departments pay more than 50% of the county’s workers’ comp premiums.

For over three decades
, the county has been a member of the CSAC Excess Insurance Authority, “a member-directed risk sharing pool of counties and public entities,” according to county staff.

The county
was
enrolled in one of its compensation programs and the county was mandated to absorb the risk for each claim up to $500,000 and manage all the necessary administrative work.(workersxzcompxzkit)

The recently approved CSAC program
, known as Primary Workers’ Compensation, transfers and moves all
of the county’s risk around to a bigger pool, thus lowering the county’s costs.

Podcast/Webcast: Occupational Health Strategies
Click Here:

WC Calculator: http://www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/calculator.php

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.

© 2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Four Ways to Make Employee Training Interactive and Fun

Train Employees to be Efficient Cost Cutting Tools

 

Whether you have seasoned employees with the company for years or are planning to make additions to your workforce, providing detailed training gives your employees the information they need to make them better at what they do AND, reduce your workers’ comp costs.

 

Effective and creative training takes productivity to a new level, creates a network of training opportunities serving as orientation for new hires, and advances training for your seasoned workers.

 

The object is to shape your training by making it interactive, fun, and exciting for your entire workforce.

 

  1. Gather Your Leaders

You save valuable time, money, and resources by utilizing existing assets in your training program and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience from your various managers, team leads, and senior employees. Create committees for each of your company sections to build tools, insights, and specific topics from your employees’ point of view. These leaders will be invaluable in assisting in training and mentoring of new employees, or those being transferred within the company.

 

  1. Creative Learning

Turn those boring training films and sessions into action training. Taking the information from training materials and making it interactive introduces a new level of learning. By running “on the job” training exercises and labs “in house” you save a bundle by not hiring outside trainers and taking trips to training facilities.  At the end of the training course, reward your employees with a company picnic or buffet lunch to reinforce your employees’ efforts in the training and learning sessions.

 

  1. One-on-One Coaching

Get your management and supervisors involved in the training process with observation, critiquing, and advice to help employees fine tune their specific roles in the workflow. They are then motivated by tools allowing them to apply a new perspective and techniques in their daily work performance. Positive  reinforcement makes them more productive workers. Create recondition programs to enrich and reward outstanding achievements. These programs help foster a positive and competitive spirit within the workforce.

 

  1. Develop Mentoring

Assign new hires to work with your seasoned and well-trained team leaders and employees to build solid work skills and learn from an employee with well-rounded skill sets and experience. By working together on projects and tasks teamwork is promoted within the company and standards set that are examples to help your company flourish. (workersxzcompxzkit)

 

Thinking outside the box to develop new approaches in training and workflow practices helps build new skills and confidence for your managers, team leaders, and your newly hired employees. By rewarding them for their achievements you shape and mold a highly productive workforce while lowering your workers’ comp cost. Well-trained employees are far less prone to mistakes, accidents, and injuries!

Rebecca Shafer, J.D., President, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Her clients consistently reduce their losses 20-50%. She can be contacted at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.


Podcast/Webcast: Claim Handling Strategies
Click Here:
http://www.workerscompkit.com/gallagher/podcast/  Claim_Handling_Strategies/index.php 


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.

 

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Workers Compensation Accident Prevention Begins with Employers

All employers in all sectors of industry in Great Britain are being urged to play their part in sharing information to prevent accidents.For more Information: www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revamped its Safety Bulletin system used to warn industries  of problems with equipment, process, procedures and substances leading to injury, with bulletins now available automatically via email, text message or RSS feed, as well as on the website.
 
HSE recently held a workshop, “Safety Alerts: Everyone Has a Role to Play – What's Yours?,” to demonstrate the benefits of its new system and to encourage industry to do more to help improve the safety alert system as a whole. HSE is asking employers to find more effective ways to share safety information with their own employee alerts.

Workshop participants committed to actions – such as, reviewing the format and method of issuing alerts; sharing alert information with other industries; and setting up forums to share best practices. In return, HSE pledged ongoing support to industry to help organizations progress with their commitments.
 
HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt noted, "With this new and updated way of issuing safety alerts, we are initiating a better, joined up approach to sharing information that will help towards reducing death and injury at work. HSE is keen to move with the times and take advantage of new ways of communicating.
 
"We are encouraged by the positive response we have already seen from a number of sectors, but we need to get all areas involved to maximize the benefits of this approach. I am confident that British industry will rise to the challenge of protecting workers through this new system."

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers' Compensation costs, including airlines, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.


Podcast/Webcast: Claim Handling Strategies
Click Here:

http://www.workerscompkit.com/gallagher/podcast/  Claim_Handling_Strategies/index.php 
 

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.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Back to Basics Why the First Report of Injury Is So Important in a Workers Comp Claim

The U.S. Labor  Department reported on Thursday continuing unemployment claims surged 172,000 to a record 6.02 million. Initial jobless claims were recorded at 610,000 for the week ending April 11. The four-week moving average was 659,500.

 

Employers continue  to search for ways to cut costs and have targeted employee benefit plans putting many medical plans in jeopardy.

 

For the employed,  the prospect of losing one's job almost seems imminent which may lead to an increase number of fraudulent workers' compensation claims.

 

Employers must  emphasize a "back-to-basics" approach to their workers' compensation claims.  One area to focus on is understanding the difference between an illness and an injury.  An injury is defined as damage or harm caused to the structure or function of the body caused by an outside agent or force.  An illness is defined as a state of poor health.

 

Employers should review the process used by their claim administrator to register first notice of loss.  Does the administrator make a successful (workersxzcompxzkit) attempt to identify the injury as occupationally-related?  If there is doubt, what is the procedure to review the first notice to controvert the claim?

 

Remember, workers' compensation provides wage replacement (subject to state law) where medical plans do not typically afford this coverage unless a disability occurs.

 

With a growing  number of people unemployed and prospects that the jobless number will continue to increase, employers must rely on the diligence of their claim administrators to verify the accuracy of a reported injury.  If the injury is found to be employment-related (as defined by state law or regulation) then the claim should be handled in a judicious manner.  If there is doubt or suspicion, than immediate action is required not to make payment on a claim that is not work related.

 

Michael Ferreira is the President of Safegate Risk Consulting, LLC. He has been in the insurance industry for many years and has expertise in brokerage, underwriting and claims. While in the brokerage industry, he was the client account executive for Walmart. He can be reached at: 917-767-9123.

 

Try the WC Cost Calculator to show the REAL COST of work comp. Look at WC 101 for the basics about workers comp. Workers' Comp Kit® is a web-based online Assessment, Benchmarking and Cost Containment system for employers. It provides all the materials needed to reduce your costs significantly in 85% less time than if you designed a program from scratch.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws are different. Consult with your corporate legal counsel before implementing any cost containment programs.

©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Professional Development Resource

Learn How to Reduce Workers Comp Costs 20% to 50%"Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%"
Lower your workers compensation expense by using the
guidebook from Advisen and the Workers Comp Resource Center.
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