The Big Bang? An Eventful Year in Workers' Compensation
Posted: 10 Jan 2008
Workers' compensation in the past two years has been dominated by events in California, which have been so fundamental as to merit the term big bang. Passage of Senate Bill 899 has led to a comprehensive program of reform in access to medical care, access to rehabilitation services, temporary and permanent disability, evidence-based management, dispute resolution, and system innovation. Two noteworthy developments thus arose: a new requirement for apportionment by cause in causation analysis, and the adoption of evidence-based criteria for impairment assessment, treatment guidelines, and, soon, utilization review. Elsewhere in the United States, changes were modest, but extensive legislative activity in Texas suggests that Texas will be next to make major changes. In Canada, the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia has adopted an ambitious strategic initiative, and there is a Canadawide movement to establish presumption for certain diseases in firefighters. Suggestions for future directions include an increased emphasis on prevention, integration of programs, worker participation, enhancing the expertise of health care professionals, evidence-based management, process evaluation, and opportunities for innovation.
Keywords: insurance, employment, apportionment, treatment guidelines, utilization review, impairment assessment
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