New 16-State Benchmarking Study Measures Costs of Treating Workplace Injuries

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A new report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), CompScope™ Benchmarks, 14th Edition, measures the performance of 16 different state workers’ compensation systems, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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The report is designed to help policymakers and others benchmark state system performance or a company’s workers’ compensation program.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has released a comprehensive reference report, CompScope™ Benchmarks, 14th Edition, which measures the performance of 16 different state workers’ compensation systems, how they compare with each other, and how they have changed over time.

“The report is designed to help policymakers and others benchmark state system performance or a company’s workers’ compensation program,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s deputy director and counsel. “The benchmarks also provide an excellent baseline for tracking the effectiveness of policy changes and identifying important trends.”

The study examines how income benefits, overall medical payments, costs, use of benefits, duration of disability, litigiousness, benefit delivery expenses, timeliness of payment, and other metrics and system performance have changed per claim from 2007 to 2012.

The 16 states in the study—Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin—represent nearly 60 percent of the nation’s workers’ compensation benefit payments. Separate state reports are available for 14 of the 16 study states.

Among the major findings are the following:

  •     Medical payments per claim in Illinois declined, likely due to a reduction in the fee schedule rates.
  •     Costs per claim in Louisiana were higher than in most states and growing rapidly, mainly due to longer and increasing duration of temporary disability and higher and growing hospital payments.
  •     Overall costs per claim declined in Texas following reforms aimed at containing medical costs.
  •     Growth in total costs per claim moderated in Pennsylvania after rising in prior years.

The report presents various measures in several areas, including time from injury to payor notice of injury and first indemnity payment; average total cost per claim, average payment per claim for medical benefits, and average payments per claim for indemnity benefits and components (temporary disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and lump-sum settlements); vocational rehabilitation use and costs; benefit delivery expenses per claim; defense attorney involvement; and duration of temporary disability.

Click on the following link to purchase this report: http://www.wcrinet.org/result/bmcscope_multi14_all_result.html.

The Cambridge-based WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems.

ABOUT WCRI:

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Since 1983, WCRI has been a catalyst for significant improvements in workers' compensation systems around the world with its objective, credible, and high-quality research. WCRI's members include employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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Andrew Kenneally
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