Recently, we spoke with Evelyn V. McGill, executive director of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC), about why the VWC is a member of WCRI. The VWC is responsible for carrying out the requirements of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, while administering Virginia's workers' compensation program, meeting legal requirements, and providing various protections. Most employers doing business in Virginia and most employees working in Virginia are covered under the requirements of the Act. VWC ensures compliance with the Act and all workers’ compensation requirements through its mission and agency operations.
1) How did you first learn about WCRI?
I first learned about WCRI in 2013 when I began serving as executive director of the VWC. Upon arrival, I reviewed all contracts in place and WCRI was on the contractor list. I was intrigued by the scope of work under the contract and its deliverables and was glad to hear that not only was there a contract in place, but we received many reports to help VWC assess its workers’ compensation costs, as compared to other states across the country. The partnership under the contract is rather unique in that we meet with the WCRI Advisory Board and representatives bi-annually to discuss the CompScope™ Benchmarks and CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks and other related research reports developed for Virginia by WCRI.
2) What value do you derive from being a member of WCRI?
Current day, unbiased, original, research in workers’ compensation is always of high value, given the complexity of the systems. WCRI does an exceptional job gathering and analyzing data on various costs. It is good to have a resource such as WCRI that can produce reports which provide summaries as well as details on Virginia’s workers’ compensation system, often compared with other states. Their representatives are readily available to respond to questions that arise in our Commission on the impact of new legislative issues such as the medical fee schedule, various presumptions and other changes which have occurred over the years. The reports that are provided help us to assess the Virginia workers’ compensation system, including costs, utilization, payments and the like, while bringing to our attention any concerns that may require further review and/or operational improvements.
3) What is your favorite WCRI study/research area?
The CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks studies have been very helpful and informative. The studies have provided data on payments and medical services utilization rates for injured workers and various other information. This is valuable information, as Virginia implemented the medical fee schedule in 2018. We continue to review these reports to assess the impact of the fee schedule on costs and various other issues of concern. Access to care for injured workers is quite important and so the impact of the fee schedule to service access is continually analyzed and reviewed with the help of these studies. Recent WCRI studies have reported that utilization rates across different provider types have seen little change for injured workers.
4) Can you describe a moment when WCRI’s research was really helpful?
When the VWC designed and implemented a medical fee schedule—with the help of a regulatory advisory panel comprised of various employers, carrier representatives, provider groups and others—it was important to understand the impact of the medical fee schedule once implemented. Various comparative studies have been conducted by WCRI, reporting on the impact of our fee schedule which have helped us to see its impact on costs and access to care for the injured workers. Various medical benchmark data has been reported, reflecting the impact of the fee schedule for various medical services, as compared with fee schedule states across the country. This data has helped the VWC ensure that the fee schedule’s design and implementation met the original requirements under the statute.
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