Workers' Compensation Turns 100: Are You Prepared for the Next Centennial?
"Since the initial legislation in Wisconsin in 1911, workers' compensation laws have evolved from a straightforward, no-fault solution for the treatment and management of workplace injuries into a complex system that is now independently regulated in every state," said David A. George, CEO of Healthcare Solutions. "These regulations have grown considerably more complex, addressing clinical treatment plans, reimbursement schedules, patient direction, and more."
Workers' compensation today focuses on assuring that injured workers receive appropriate medical treatment while attempting to manage quality, cost and liabilities. While proactive risk management programs have reduced the number of workplace injuries, claim severity continues to increase and spending on medical care has now outpaced indemnity payments.
Intermediaries such as Healthcare Solutions are proactive in assisting workers' compensation carriers, third party administrators, state funds and self-administered employer groups economically deliver healthcare services needed by injured workers.
"The industry has entered into the next centennial of workers' compensation coverage," said Tom Shivers, executive vice president of Healthcare Solutions. "As such, Healthcare Solutions will continue to offer solutions that enable injured workers to receive appropriate medical care at the lowest possible cost within the complexities created by the regulatory environment."
In a position paper published earlier in the year, experts from Healthcare Solutions identified 10 emerging workers' compensation trends, along with their potential impact on the marketplace.
Trends highlighted in the position paper include:
-- A higher use of surgical implants to result in runaway pricing until cost containment strategies are adopted
-- The changing demographics of the workforce -- including an increase in obesity and the aging of the workforce -- to result in the greater likelihood for injury and longer recovery times
-- Increased regulatory oversight of pharmaceutical practices may provide the industry with the enhanced ability to manage pharmaceutical costs
-- Personalized medicine to improve treatment and potentially lead to faster, more efficient recovery, but will also increase the cost of care
-- Improved treatment for traumatic brain injuries may provide the opportunity to avoid total, permanent disability
-- Greater use of e-prescribing and digitization of records to result in faster utilization review and more responsive treatment adjustments
-- The proliferation of compound and repackaged drugs will lead to higher costs until managed aggressively or supported by new regulations
-- Increase in the use of medical foods may impact treatment costs and return questionable value
-- More injuries related to distracted driving may result an increase in costs and liability
-- Advances in bionic implants may restore functions lost to disease or injury -- and potentially reduce disability duration -- but will likely come with higher costs
Advancement in medicine and evolving practices within the healthcare industry can greatly impact payers in the workers' compensation market who work to provide high-quality care for injured workers while containing costs.Being aware of trends and taking steps to manage the changing medical environment can be challenging.
"Healthcare Solutions focuses on not only delivering the services our partners need now, but also looking ahead and identifying strategies for the future," said George. "The company looks forward to bringing the collective expertise of its leaders to the forefront in managing workers' compensation performance to enable the best outcome for each injured worker, as well as each stakeholder managing patient care."
For a copy of Healthcare Solutions' position paper, Workers' Compensation: Future Trends and Potential Impacts, http://www.healthcaresolutionsmediakit.com/white_papers/index.html.
About Healthcare Solutions
Healthcare Solutions, Inc. is the parent company of Cypress Care and Procura Management.Through its affiliated companies, Healthcare Solutions serves as a health service company delivering integrated solutions to the property and casualty markets, specializing in workers' compensation and auto liability/PIP.The company's customers include insurance carriers, third party administrators (TPAs), managed care organizations (MCOs), government agencies and self-insured employers.Utilizing market-leading technology, Healthcare Solutions delivers demonstrated benefits and savings complemented by deep industry expertise.For more information, visit www.healthcaresolutions.com.
(The above piece is part of our continuing Insights series designed to highlight key
products and services to our readers. This paid-for Insights was written and edited by Risk & Insurance®
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August 10, 2011
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