Simple Ideas for a Complex System

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The Top Actions Employers Can Take to Manage Their

The Top Actions Employers Can Take to Manage Their Workers' Compensation Program in 2024

by Bill Zachry, SCIF Board Member

Management Engagement:

The approach and attitude that senior management takes regarding injury prevention, safety, employee welfare, interaction with injured workers, and treatment of claims partners are primary determinants of successfully managing the workers’ compensation program.

Hiring the Right Employee:

Hiring qualified and engaged employees is essential for reducing the risk of workplace injuries and subsequent workers’ compensation claims. In today’s employment market this can be a particular challenge.

Safety and Injury Prevention:

Educating employees on the proper use of all equipment, including PPE, and emphasizing safety measures is crucial for preventing costly claims and ensuring employee well-being. Most injuries occur in the first year of employment.

Financial Incentives:

Companies that align their internal financial incentives with corporate goals achieve better results. The challenge in this process is identifying internal incentive silos that do not promote optimal outcomes. Every incentive has unintended consequences.

Immediate Reporting of Claims:

The importance of timely injury reporting cannot be overstated. Each day of delay in reporting adds over $1500 to the cost of the claim.

Identify and eliminate any internal barriers causing delayed reporting, including the unintended consequences of chargeback programs.

Companies that rely on brokers to report claims introduce unnecessary delays and often result in poor-quality information being sent to the claims administrator.

Work Closely with and Support the Claims Examiner:

Prompt reporting of claims, providing accurate and timely wage information, and ensuring prompt and adequate settlement authorization all contribute to lower litigation rates and shorter claims duration. Support and collaboration with claims examiners are essential.

Quality Medical Care:

Quality doctors who actively facilitate return to work and provide high- quality care play a significant role in reducing claims costs. Employers should establish strong relationships with clinics that provide care for injured workers. Employers should also seek employee feedback to gauge satisfaction with medical care. Employee engagement, especially in at-home physical therapy, is crucial for maximizing recovery and minimizing disability.

Create and Share an Accurate Physical Job Description:

Employers should provide accurate job descriptions to medical providers and claims examiners. Doctors cannot effectively facilitate recovery if they are unaware of the physical job requirements. The job description also helps the claims examiner accurately rate permanent disability.

Light Modified Duties / Return to Work Programs:

Implementing a return-to-work program and ensuring active engagement from both employees and medical providers in facilitating employees’ return to work results in reduced lost time, lower permanent disability (PD), and decreased litigation rates.

Attend Employee Depositions and Appeals Board Hearings:

Employer representatives should attend injured worker depositions and appeals board hearings. This serves to ensure honesty on the employee’s part and provides valuable education for employers on how the system operates.

Quality and Accurate Premium Payroll Reporting and Audit:

Accurate and timely reporting of payroll totals and wage classifications reduce premium surprises and nurture positive relationships with brokers and insurance companies.

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