A Publication of WTVP

In the past, we have discussed ways employers can reduce their workers’ compensation costs. However, unnecessary employer spending has not been discussed. Here is our Top-10 list:

10. Focus on the cost of services rather than the quality of the service offered. Since 2002, the State of Illinois has regulated the costs of medical services on the comp side. Insurance companies are now trying to sign up any provider in their networks who is willing to charge a little less than state rates. The problem is there are no quality controls on these network providers. Focusing solely on the costs of services will cost you money.

9. Continue to ignore recommendations to implement modified duty programs. Some of you persist in having a “full-duty or no-duty” mentality. If you’re one of these employers, go ahead and write your check for next year’s premium and add 10 to 25 percent to this year’s bill.

8. Fight every claim that comes across your desk by looking for a crack in the law. I’m not saying that employers should not carefully and fully investigate every claim. However, when you find yourself parsing words in hopes to have a claim denied, chances are you’ll lose. So pull out the pen and write the check to that plaintiff’s attorney as well.

7. Persistently believe that all physicians are the same. Allow your employees to see their family practice providers (many of whom are highly qualified family practitioners, but not occupational medicine specialists) and watch those lost work days climb.

6. Don’t drug-screen employees after an injury or accident. Did you know that you should drug-screen after an accident, even if there was no injury? Why? More than 50 percent of all workplace injuries and accidents have a drug-or alcohol-related component to them.

5. Believe that it is too expensive to do pre-placement physicals for new hires. The cost of a pre-placement physical and drug screen: less than $100. The cost of a back injury or carpal tunnel claim: more than $30,000. Sure, the insurance company pays the claim, but who pays the increased premium next year, and the year after that, and the year after that?

4. Believe that all physical therapy is the same. Still paying for passive modalities such as ultrasound, massage or even laser treatments? Did you know that passive treatments have little or no research backing demonstrating effective improvement, short- or long-term, in pain control or function? They do, however, have extraordinary costs and will grow your workers’ compensation costs very quickly.

3. Poorly manage the “chronically” injured personnel, employing them despite their constant drag on the company’s bottom line across multiple cost factors. Don’t get your medical provider involved to evaluate if they are truly qualified for the work. Continue to believe that it is less costly to keep them as an employee than to sever the working relationship and cost the company thousands more.

2. Ignore workplace safety procedures. Do not insist on safe work practices. You can have the best medical providers and the best employees, but the incidence of work-related injuries is sure to climb and cause premiums to climb with them.

1. Allow morale to slide backwards in your business. The number-one reason people claim injuries is not an injury; rather, it is an antagonistic work environment. iBi