Latino Workers Dying on the Job at Higher Rates
The 4,405 occupational fatalities last year represent a decrease from 2012’s figures. However, workplace deaths among Hispanic or Latino workers was the highest in five years.
The statistics come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual count of workplace fatalities. The numbers are preliminary and may be revised later.
The preliminary total of fatal work injuries in 2013 translates to a rate of 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers compared to a final rate of 3.4 in 2012. Several findings stand out from the overall positive results.
“The number of fatal work injuries among firefighters was considerably higher in 2013, rising from 18 in 2012 to 53 in 2013,” according to the BLS. “The large increase resulted from a few major incidents in which multiple fatalities were recorded, including the Yarnell Hill wildfires in Arizona which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters.”
The 797 occupational deaths among Hispanic or Latino workers represented an increase of 7 percent since 2012 and was the highest total since 2008. The number of fatalities among all other major racial/ethnic groups was lower.
In the private sector, there were 3,929 deaths last year — the lowest total since the census began in 1992. Self-employed workers saw 16 percent fewer fatalities in 2013 — 892 compared with 1,057 in 2012. That preliminary total also represents the lowest annual total since the series began in 2012.
However, the number increased for contractors, up to 734 from 715 in 2012. That group represented 17 percent of all occupational fatalities last year.
In terms of the ages of workers, fatalities decreased among workers younger than 16 — falling from 19 in 2012 to just 5 in 2013. Most other age groups also reported lower death rates with the exception of workers 25-34, which were higher.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had more fatal injuries in 2013, 30 states had fewer, and three states saw no change between the two years.
The report included the additional findings:
Violence accounted for 1 out of every 6 fatalities, the second highest type of incident after transportation. Workplace homicides decreased by 16 percent while suicides were up 8 percent.
Transportation-related fatalities accounted for 1,740 of the deaths with most being roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.
Falls, trips, and slips took 699 workers’ lives in 2013. The number was marginally lower than in 2012 but still represented 16 percent of the total.
Job Boredom a Workplace Hazard?
Job boredom can be hazardous to your health. That’s the conclusion of a study of workers in Finland. Researchers looked at more than 11,000 workers in 87 workplaces to see whether there was a correlation between job boredom, health, and job attitudes.
“We found a clear association between job boredom and negative health- and work-related perceptions,” the researchers concluded. “Boredom increased the likelihood of poor self-rated health, stress symptoms, poor workability and turnover and early retirement intentions.”
Writing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the authors defined job boredom as passiveness, a lack of interest in tasks, and an inability to concentrate. It was associated with low job demands and low job resources — autonomy and social support from colleagues and supervisors.
Data was collected in 2011 through either an electronic or a postal survey questionnaire sent to 20,333 employees, of which 11,468 responded. The answers indicated poorer health outcomes and more stress symptoms were associated with job boredom.
“Employees experiencing job boredom were 1.5 times more likely to rate their health as poor,” the report said. “Bored employees were 1.3 times more likely to experience stress symptoms than their less bored colleagues.”
Workers most affected by job boredom were those in the transportation, manufacturing, arts, recreation, and entertainment industries. Males under 36 years old were also especially susceptible to job boredom. Workers in finance and insurance, health and social work, and education were the least bored.
“As a practical implication, it would benefit organizations to pay attention to redesigning work in a way that provides employees with challenging jobs and opportunities for development,” the report suggests. “Special focus should be given to providing young employees with opportunities to use and develop their potential. In addition, organizations could support the efforts of employees to actively influence the boundaries of their jobs themselves to alleviate boredom.”
The Re-Invention of American Healthcare
Consolidation among healthcare providers continues at a torrid pace.
A multitude of factors are driving this consolidation, including the Affordable Care Act compliance, growing costs and the ever-greater complexity of health insurance reimbursements. After several years of purchasing individual practices and regional hospital systems, the emergence of the mega-hospital system is now clear.
“Every month, one of our clients is either being bought or buying someone — and the M&A activity shows no signs of slowing down,” said Brenda Osborne, executive vice president at Lexington Insurance Co.
This dramatic change in the landscape of healthcare providers is soon to be matched by equally significant changes in patient behavior. Motivated by growing out-of-pocket costs and empowered with new sources of information, the emergence of a “healthcare consumer” is on the horizon.
Price, service, reputation and, ultimately, value are soon to be important factors for patients making healthcare decisions.
Such significant changes bring with them new and challenging risks.
Although physicians traditionally started their own practices or joined medical groups, the current climate is quite the opposite. Doctors are now seeking out employment by health systems. Wages are guaranteed, hours are more stable, vacations are easier to take, and the burdens of running a business are gone.
“It’s a lot more of a desirable lifestyle, particularly for the younger generation,” said Osborne.
Brenda Osborne discusses the changing healthcare environment and the risks and opportunities to come.
Given the strategic importance of successfully integrating acquired practices into a larger healthcare system, hospitals are rightfully focused on how best to keep doctors happy, motivated and focused on patient safety.
A key issue that many hospitals struggle with is how to provide effective liability insurance for their doctors. Physicians who previously owned their practice are accustomed to a certain type of coverage and they expect that coverage to continue.
Even when operators find comparable liability insurance solutions for their doctors, getting buy-in from their staff is often an additional hurdle to overcome.
“Physicians listen to two things — physician leaders and data,” said Osborne. “That’s why Lexington provides assessments that utilize deep data analysis, combined with providing insights from leading doctors to help explain trends and best practices.
“In addition, utilizing benchmarks against peers helps to identify gaps in best practices. It’s a very powerful approach that speaks to doctors in a way that will help them improve their risk.”
Focusing on the “continuum of care”
There’s been a fundamental shift in how healthcare providers care for patients: Treatment is becoming more focused on a patient’s overall health status and related needs.
A cancer patient, for example, should have doctors in a number of specialties communicating and working together toward a positive patient outcome. But that means a change in thinking: Physicians need to work collaboratively with one another — not easy for individuals or groups that are used to being independent. Healthcare is a team sport.
“If there isn’t strong communication, strong leadership, and the recognition of proper treatment procedures between physicians, healthcare providers can increase the risk of error,” said Osborne. “The provider has got to treat the whole patient rather than each individual condition.”
That coordination must extend from inpatient to outpatient, especially since the ACA has led to a rapid increase in patients being treated at outpatient clinics, or via home health or telehealth to reduce the cost of inpatient care
“Home health is going be a growing area in the future,” Osborne continued. “Telehealth will become an effective and efficient way of managing and treating patients in their home. A patient might have a nurse come in and help the healthcare provider communicate with a physician through an iPad or computer. The nurse can also convey assessment findings to the physician.”
Metrics matter more than ever
Patients have not always thought of themselves as healthcare consumers, but that’s changing dramatically as they pay more out of pocket for their own healthcare. At the same time, there’s an increase in metrics and data available to the public — and healthcare consumers are drawing upon those metrics more and more when making choices that affect their health.
“Consumers are going to start measuring physicians against physicians, healthcare systems against healthcare systems. That competition will force everyone to improve the quality of care.”
– Brenda Osborne, Executive Vice President, Lexington Insurance
Think about all the research a consumer does before buying a car. Which dealership has the best price? Who provides the best service? Who’s offering the best financing deal?
“Do patients do that with physicians? No,” said Osborne. “Patients choose physicians through referrals from friends or health plans with minimal information. Patients may be putting their lives in the physicians’ hands and not know their track record.
That’s all going to change as patients’ use of data becomes more widespread. There are many web based resources to find information on physicians.
“Consumers are going to start measuring physicians against physicians, healthcare systems against healthcare systems,” said Osborne. “That competition will force everyone to improve the quality of care.”
Effective solutions are driven by expertise and vision
The rapidly evolving healthcare space requires all healthcare providers to find ways to cut costs and focus on patient safety. Lexington Insurance, long known as the leading innovative and nimble specialty insurer, is at the forefront in providing clients cutting-edge tools to help reduce costs and healthcare exposures.
These tools include:
- Office Practice Risk Assessment: To support clients as they acquire physician practices, Lexington developed an office practice assessment tool which provides a broad, comprehensive evaluation of operational practices that may impact risk. The resulting report, complete with charts, graphs and insights, includes recommendations that can help physicians reduce risk related to such issues as telephone triage, lab results follow-up and medication management. .
- Best Practice Assessments: High risk clinical areas such as emergency departments (ED) and obstetrics (OB) can benefit significantly from external, objective, evidence-based assessments to identify gaps and assure compliance with best practices. In addition to ED and OB, Lexington can provide a BPA for peri-operative care, prevention of healthcare-acquired infections, and nursing homes. All assessments result in a comprehensive report with recommendations for improvement and resources along with consultative assistance and support. .
- Continuing Education: In an effort to improve knowledge, decrease potential risk and support healthcare providers in the use the most current tools and techniques, Lexington provides Continuing Medical Education credits at no cost to hospitals or their physicians.
- Targeting the Healthcare Consumer: With Medicare reimbursement impacted by patient-satisfaction surveys, assuring a positive patient experience is more critical than ever. Lexington helps hospitals understand and improve the patient experience so they can continue to earn the trust of healthcare consumers while preserving their good reputation. .
To learn more about Lexington Insurance’s scope and depth of the patient safety consulting products and services healthcare solutions, interested brokers may visit their website.