In the News

Reducing opioid use requires multi-pronged approach

April 18, 2018

Business Insurance | By Louise Esola | 4/18/2018

SAN ANTONIO — The head of risk management for a company whose 454,000 workers are tasked with delivering 2.5 million packages around the world each day, said solving the opioid crisis will take a multitude of strategies.

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Workers’ comp reform measure in Pa. House hits wall in partisan dispute over medication formularies

February 9, 2018

Citing a report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute, Mackenzie said that injured workers in Pennsylvania currently get the second-highest amount of opioid prescriptions in the U.S.

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WCRI 34th Annual Conference - March 2018

February 9, 2018

In March, the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) will produce its 34th Annual Issues and Research Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. The last time I attended, the town was covered with snow and some sidewalks were impassable as they strove to pile and store it. I am hopeful that 2018 will offer a warmer, more welcoming climate. I will speak on a panel this year, titled "The World of Work is Changing - Fast. Are you Prepared?" It will be Friday, March 23, 2018 at 11:05, and will be the climactic conclusion to the two-day event. 

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WCRI 2018 in 5 Words: ‘Providing New Insights from Research’

February 9, 2018

Fast forward to 2018: It's time to talk turkey on what this 34th conference year is all about. caught up with Dr. Ruser to talk about just that.

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Rousmaniere: Speaking for the Injured Worker

February 7, 2018

The workers' comp industry is discovering anew the injured worker. Using the term “claims advocacy,” claims professionals say they want to anticipate and support the injured worker as she tries to navigate the medical system, keep her home life in order, and return to work. This is a welcome shift from a reactive to a proactive approach in managing claims.

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Opinion: Here’s why a worker’s comp reform bill will help fight the opioid crisis

January 30, 2018

There is unmistakable evidence that this bill is good policy. In Ohio, when that state's workers' compensation system adopted a similar drug formulary, the use of opioids dropped by 29 percent in four years.

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​House panel reports out drug formulary bill

January 25, 2018

“A June 2017 study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute studied non-surgical claims in 26 states, representing two-thirds of the workers’ compensation claims paid nationwide (finding) Pennsylvania is the second-highest state in the amount of opioids per claim (at 258 pills per claim), 87 percent higher than the median state,” said House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny.

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Speaker Turzai, House Republicans continue to attack the opioid crisis

January 24, 2018

According to a 2017 study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, Pennsylvania is the second highest state in the number of opioids per claim, 87 percent higher than the median state. It also found Pennsylvania is the second highest state in the number of opioid pills per claim, at 258 pills, and the second highest state in the opioid dosage per pill, at 10.2 mg.

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Workers’ compensation insurance rates continue to fall for California employers

January 22, 2018

From 2012 to 2016, the average medical payment decreased 3 percent per year for claims that were 12 months or older. More mature claims, 36 months or older, decreased 4 percent per year during the same time, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Paduda: WCRI [conference] is just around the corner

January 16, 2018

Had a chance to sit down with WCRI CEO John Ruser a couple weeks ago and get his take on the Institute’s Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 22-23. For those who have yet to attend WCRI, get yourself there this year…and unlike other conferences, attendance is limited. I’d strongly encourage you to register now if you haven’t already…

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Statement From Senator Frank Lasee on New Position Appointment

December 26, 2017

​MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) - Today, State Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), issued the following statement regarding Governor Walker appointing State Senator Lasee to serve as the Division Administrator for Worker’s Compensation in the Department of Workforce Development:

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Meeting will assess impact of opioids in Idaho workplaces

November 24, 2017

Physicians have taken steps to limit prescription drug abuse. The average amount of opioids dispensed to injured workers declined from 2010 and 2013 over two years following the injury, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute. Fitzgerald said police report that heroin is a bigger problem in Idaho than prescription drugs. Many prescription drug users turn to heroin because it is less expensive.

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Lawmaker Wants All Providers Registered In State’s Drug Database

November 22, 2017

Research says KASPER has cut down on inappropriate opioid prescriptions in certain populations. According to a recent review of workers’ compensation claims by the independent Workers Compensation Research Institute, the number of workers with comp claims given opioids decreased from 54 percent to 44 percent after checks became mandatory.

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Study: Workers’ Comp Medical Payments Decrease

October 26, 2017

A study by the Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute says medical payments per workers' compensation claim in Indiana have decreased for the first time in more than 10 years. The study says the decrease, recorded from 2014 to 2015, was the largest of the 18 states evaluated.

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Showdown on workers comp comes as companies see major savings

October 16, 2017

The latest report from the Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute, for example, found that among the states it reviewed, Wisconsin: *has a shorter duration in temporary disability benefits employees receive, indicating that workers get back on the job faster; *has lower rates of lawyers being involved in workers' compensation claims; *is one of the states with the lowest medical care utilization rates, which means employees needed fewer doctor visits and received fewer services per visit; *and had high rates of worker satisfaction with their care. 

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Webinar on WCRI’s Latest Research on Fee Schedules and Medical Prices

October 13, 2017

Cambridge, MA, October 12, 2017—The various design choices of fee schedule regulations and their impact on variation in medical payments across state workers’ compensation systems will be discussed during an hour-long webinar by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at 12 noon ET (11 a.m. CT, 10 a.m. MT, and 9 a.m. PT).

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The Workforce’s Hidden Addicts

September 29, 2017

The nationwide opioid addiction epidemic is seeping into the workplace but hard to detect and deal with. Meanwhile, its potential impact on the labor force is staggering.

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It’s Prime’s time: Occupational medicine business plans moves to New Orleans, Texas

September 24, 2017

Although work-related injuries and illnesses in Louisiana dropped 35 percent from 2005 to 2015, the costs of injuries that force employees to miss more than seven days of work were both higher and grew faster than in most other states. A report from the Workers' Compensation Research Institute shows in those instances, total costs per claim in Louisiana averaged more than $30,000 for a 12-month period.

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Doctors keep dispensing despite reforms

September 6, 2017

Business Insurance | By Louise Esola | 9/4/2017

States that enacted reforms to rein in the high cost of drugs dispensed by physicians to injured workers face an uphill battle as some doctors find loopholes in the regulations.

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Employers Do to Fight the Opioid Epidemic?

September 5, 2017

Opioid prescriptions have nearly quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the drugs help people manage pain, they are also addictive. Eight to 12 percent of opioid users develop an opioid use disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Study: Fewer Injured Workers Prescribed Opioids After Kentucky Reforms

August 30, 2017

Kentucky Public Radio | By Lisa Gillespie | August 29, 2017

Workers injured on the job received fewer prescription opioids after landmark legislation passed in Kentucky that set up a drug monitoring database, according to a new study out Tuesday.

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Addressing the Physician Dispensing Challenge

August 24, 2017

​Risk & Insurance | By Katie Kuehner-Hebert | August 24, 2017

Although many states have enacted regulations to curb physician dispensing, doctors are finding ways to get around restrictions — driving up costs for workers’ compensation systems.

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The opioid crisis is creating a fresh hell for America’s employers

July 26, 2017

LinkedIn | By Chip Cutter, Managing editor at LinkedIn | July 26, 2017

Clyde McClellan used to require a drug test before people could work at his Ohio pottery company, which produces 2,500 hand-cast coffee mugs a day for Starbucks and others.

Now, he skips the tests and finds it more efficient to flat-out ask applicants: “What are you on?”

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Opioid prescription numbers for injured workers plummet

July 17, 2017

Addiction Now | By Dave Lambert | July 17, 2017

The number of painkilling opioids handed out to injured workers in the U.S. has seen a major drop — but remains dangerously high in some states.

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Measuring the Adequacy of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Michigan, 2004-2008

July 14, 2017

LexisNexis | By James J. Ranta, Esq. | 07-14-2017

The recent study by Mr. Bogdan Savych and Mr. H. Alan Hunt, Adequacy of Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits in Michigan, sought to determine how total income received by workers after an injury compared with the total income workers could have received had they not experienced an injury. 

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Workers comp outperforms nation in reducing opioid prescribing

July 12, 2017

Business Insurance | Louise Esola  | 7/12/2017 7:22:00 AM

An examination of opioid prescribing in workers compensation when compared to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that entities in charge of treating injured workers are doing a better job at reducing the prescribing of powerful painkillers. 

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Column: In Illinois workers’ compensation battle, business can’t stay on sidelines

July 11, 2017

Chicago Tribune | By Robert Reed | July 11, 2017

An area of possible bipartisan reform in Illinois has gone down in flames — a victim of the budget battle — so the state is stuck with a workers' compensation plan that businesses, especially small companies, love to hate.

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CT hospital outpatient payments fell 14% in 2015 after policy change, report finds

July 5, 2017

Hartford Business Journal | By John Stearns | July 5, 2017

The average hospital outpatient payment per surgery decreased in Connecticut by about 14 percent from 2014 to 2015 after the state adopted a fee schedule for hospital and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), according to a new study from the Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.

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Thousands of Georgians hurt at work report ‘big problems’ getting care

May 10, 2017

A recent study by the nonprofit Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found 18 percent, or nearly one in five, Georgians injured at work who experienced more than seven days lost time reported "big problems' getting services they or their primary provider wanted." 

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Rousmaniere: Does it Matter Who Picks the Doctor?

May 3, 2017

Does it matter who picks the doctor? The Workers Compensation Research Institute concluded in a report released last week that for the most part an insurer or employer will incur roughly the same claims costs for work injuries regardless if they occur in “employer choice” or “employee choice” states. It also opened the door to fruitful discussion of what does make a difference in claims outcomes.

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Workers comp programs fight addiction among injured workers

April 10, 2017

Meet a victim of the nation's opioid addiction scourge: the American worker. A number of U.S. states are taking steps through their workers compensation systems to stem the overprescribing of the powerful painkillers to workers injured on the job, while helping those who became hooked to avoid potentially deadly consequences.

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First impressions matter in comp claims

April 3, 2017

Workers compensation experts say that trust in the workplace and early positive communication between injured workers and their employers or claims handlers can play a crucial role in reducing the time it takes a claimant to return to work, as well as keeping comp claim costs in check.

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Another Record-Breaking Year for Conference Attendance

March 7, 2017

Thank you to the over 400 people who helped make WCRI’s 33rd Annual Research & Issues Conference such a tremendous success.  

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Why Workers’ Compensation Is Especially Needed Now: Report from WCRI Conference

March 6, 2017

After decades of managing costs for employers, it’s time for workers’ compensation professionals and public policymakers to turn their attention to the needs of injured workers and think of themselves more as players in a broader safety net, workers’ compensation experts were told last week.

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New pilot aims to curb opioid addiction among injured workers

January 17, 2017

BOSTON -- The Baker administration on Thursday launched a new initiative to combat the state's opioid abuse epidemic, this one with a focus on reducing the risk of addiction for workers who are injured on the job.

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Study: CT paying more for injured-workers medical services than many states

November 30, 2016

Prices paid for medical professional services delivered to injured workers in Connecticut were 19 percent higher in 2014 and 21 percent higher in 2015 than the median for 31 states studied in the latest Medical Price Index for Workers' Compensation, released today by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

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Workers’ comp payments for medical service in Kentucky are below 18-state median, study says

November 10, 2016

Medical payments per claim in Kentucky were lower than the median of 18 states, according to a recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

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Insurance Commissioner warns of increased deaths, costs due to prescription opioid, heroin epidemic

September 30, 2016

For the first time in a decade some mortality rates in the United States are rising and that’s due, in part, to more people dying from drug overdoses, .

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