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Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC)

Recent roundtables at CHSWC

In November and December 2006, the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) held three roundtable discussions on different topics with stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system. Invited were members of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), insurers, medical providers, attorneys, employers and labor representatives, as well as specialist researchers from organizations including RAND Corporation, the California Workers' Compensation Institute (CWCI) and the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).

Return-to-Work

The first roundtable, held in November, focused on Return-to-Work (RTW) patterns in workers' compensation. Research supports the observation that RTW at the earliest appropriate time reduces both the long-term wage loss of an injured worker and the costs borne by employers. Current incentives, such as vouchers, reimbursements, tiered disability payments, as well as obstacles to achieve a smooth, healthy RTW were discussed by stakeholders. The performance of the current RTW model was questioned, and both practical and visionary perspectives were addressed. A summary report was approved by the Commission on December 8th for public comment. http://www.dir.ca.gov/chswc/PublicCommentsAndFeedback.html (See related news about the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) Launch of the Return-to-Work Grant Program for small employers at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwc_newslines/2006/Newsline_72-06.html.)

Pay for Performance

The second roundtable, held in December, brought in stakeholders with expertise in incentives, outcomes and process measurement functions in medical delivery. The discussion of Pay for Performance in the workers' compensation medical treatment system reviewed practices in both occupational medicine and non-occupational medicine. Some of the measures of performance included quality, efficiency, administrative processes and adoption of information technology. Specific reward structures were proposed for further review. A summary report of the roundtable will be prepared for the next meeting of the Commission on February 23, 2007.

24-Hour Care

The third roundtable, also in December, discussed 24-Hour Care and the potential benefits and obstacles to integrating workers’ compensation insurance with employer- purchased health benefits. The proposal of a pilot program with state employees or within carve-outs was discussed in relation to ERISA laws. As with the above two roundtables, practical issues of improvement as well as innovative suggestions were discussed. A summary report of the roundtable will be prepared for the next meeting of the Commission on February 23, 2007.