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Monday, September 2, 2013

Government workers' compensation payments surge in New Orleans

Today's post was shared by WCBlog and comes from


As New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu continues to weave through another tight budget year, his administration is having to deal with yet another major fiscal blow: a projected $8 million jump in payments this year to city employees hurt on the job.

Landrieu's budget director, Cary Grant, told the City Council's Budget Committee this week that he expects payments for workers' compensation claims -- primarily from firefighters -- will increase from $16 million in 2012 to $24 million by the end of 2013.

Grant offered no theory for the 50 percent jump, but he said the administration has hired a forensic auditing firm from Sacramento, Calif., Bickmore Risk Services, to comb through the city's stacks of claims and payments to find ways to save money. Auditors will also examine the work of the claims management firm Landrieu hired last year: Hammerman & Gainer Inc. of New Orleans.

Bickmore began its audit on Monday, said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Courtney Bagneris, who has been filling in for the city's departed risk management director, Michael McKenna. She told the committee the administration expects to have a full report by mid-October.

The city has roughly 1,000 outstanding workers' compensation claims, with more than three out of four coming from the Fire Department. To slow that trend, Bagneris said, the administration is developing a "light-duty program" that will let...
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