There are so many reasons why both employers and workers feel that workers' compensation is "broken" or doesn't work.
Peter Rousmaniere, who is beginning work this week for WorkCompCentral, suggests in his column reviewing two studies on perceived delays in medical treatment that delay may arise as much from indifferent doctoring skills as days elapsing on the calendar.
An employer consultant relayed to me a factual scenario indicating another cause of this perception - standard claims administration protocol, which is defensive in nature as opposed to being aggressively pro-active.
Rousmaniere cites a couple of studies in his column. A Texas Department of Workers' Compensation survey of injured workers documents wide discrepancy in perceptions, but also notes that up to 50% of all survey respondents complained of some delay in receipt of treatment.
Another study cited by Rousmaniere conducted by Harbor Health, which specializes in designing workers’ compensation provider networks, looked for differences in claims outcome, including medical cost and litigation rates, and if surgical treatment happened early or late in the course of treatment.
Harbor Health found that early surgery in carpal tunnel cases (earlier than recommended by treatment guidelines) produced slightly more cost in medical expense but much less cost in indemnity expense.
Let's put these findings into context.
Assume a 28 year old male worker who complains of "...