The drive for cost containment progresses on two parallel fronts: The actions individual employers and insurers are taking focus on individual workplaces, while public officials are debating system-wide legislative changes. The papers in this report present several striking success stories from the experience of employers and insurers, providing potential models for private actions to contain costs. They also present commentary on the success stories by union representatives and administrators of workers’ compensation state agencies.
Each success story not only explains the elements that produced success, but also provides hard data that document the results. The institutional settings for the stories are remarkably different, yet there are many striking similarities in how results were achieved. One success story involves efforts by an exclusive state fund (Washington), another by a self-insurance group (New York Electrical Employers Self Insurance Safety Plan), and a third by a large private insurer (Travelers).
The results achieved by each involved adopting new strategies for safety, medical cost containment, and return to work; building bridges between employers and workers; obtaining employers’ strong commitment to safety and return to work; and implementing programs of prompt personal contacts with injured workers. Where organizational change or system change was needed, ownership of the change by workers, workers’ representatives, and employers was crucial. In each success story, it is clear that labor-management cooperation was based not on altruism but on the clear recognition that mutual self-interest would make both sides better off if cooperation could be achieved.
Workers’ Compensation Success Stories. Dr. Richard A. Victor, Editor. July 1993. WC–93–3.
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