IR #2001-07
Thursday, September 27, 2001

Richard Stephens
(415) 703-4680

DWC Certifies Two New Workers' Compensation Health Care Organizations

SAN FRANCISCO--The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) certified two new health care organizations (HCOs) to provide medical care for workers injured on the job.

"I am particularly pleased to sign these new certifications," said DWC Administrative Director Richard Gannon. "HCOs help employers and their workers improve medical care quality and early return to work programs while controlling workers' compensation costs."

The latest programs to be certified, Comp America Primary and Comp America Select, are offered by Employer and Occupational Services Group (EOS), a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc., one of the largest health care companies in California.

"EOS has a large statewide network of over 14,000 primary treating physicians, and thousands of specialists and hospitals. These certifications will substantially increase the options businesses have for using HCOs to deliver medical treatment of workplace injuries," said Gannon.

Once an HCO is certified, employers and insurers may contract with the organization to offer their employees a medical plan for occupational injuries. Employees can opt to enroll in the plan or pre-designate their own personal physician. Depending on the overall health coverage they offer, employers gain additional time during which they control medical treatment for an enrolled employee.

Certified HCOs must provide a quality assurance and improvement process, medical case management, coordination of return to work services with the employer and a grievance system. They must also report preventable health
problems to the employer to improve workplace health and safety, and must report data on medical treatment patterns, costs and outcomes for patients receiving HCO care to the DWC annually.

"HCOs are an increasingly popular way for employers and carriers to provide medical care for injured employees," notes Gannon, who's seen a recent growth spurt in HCO enrollment.

Three new programs were certified at the end of last year and enrollment overall has grown substantially, to over 150,000 employees during the first half of 2001. These new certifications bring the state program's total of HCOs to 14, offering greater choice for both employers and workers.

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A list of certified HCOs can be found on the DWC Web site at'_Compensation/DWC/HCO.htm