"Ensuring that injured workers receive high-quality medical care and are returned to productive work with a minimum of functional loss is at the core of both of our organizations' fundamental mission and values," said Greg Krohm, executive director of the IAIABC.
Statistics show that workers' comp medical costs per claim are rising much faster than medical costs in general and faster than indemnity costs per claim. Krohm pointed to several studies that show despite the rise in costs, medical outcomes within the workers' comp system are often worse than those obtained under other benefits systems. Studies also show inefficiencies in care delivery and a lack of incentives for medical providers to promote effective, efficient and outcomes-oriented treatment, he said.
Officials also noted that misaligned incentives can create unnecessary costs and delays, slowing the return of workers to their jobs, jeopardizing employment, and affecting the long-term health and productivity of the American workforce.
In announcing the partnership, ACOEM and IAIABC highlighted the need for better aligned incentives for all stakeholders in workers' comp. Barry Eisenberg, executive director of ACOEM, said the groups will share resources, cosponsor special events, and distribute white papers and other research and awareness-building materials.
"Advocating for improvements to workers' compensation requires that key stakeholders in the system are engaged in dialogue and we believe that our two organizations are well-positioned to facilitate this important component," he said.
Krohm and Eisenberg said the partnership would include efforts to encourage more physicians to become occupational health specialists, to use an evidence-based approach to medical treatment, and to be more proactive in their use of return-to-work management and counseling for patients.
"We should strive for a system that rewards physicians who deliver high-quality medical care, rapidly restore the health and function of injured workers, preserve their livelihoods, and do it all in a cost-efficient manner," Eisenberg said.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 12, 2010
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