AROUND THE NATION

  • California State Comp Rate Drops

    A new report by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) revealed that workers' compensation payments in California fell by 12.2 percent, while total workers' compensation payments rose by 1.7 percent outside the Golden state.

    According to NASI, the drop in compensation payments by California employers probably was the result of reform bills passed in the state in 2003 and 2004 that aimed to cut several billion dollars from annual costs to employers by restricting worker choice and benefits, as well as discourage “frivolous lawsuits that were driving up costs.”

    The decrease is significant because California is a large state - accounting for nearly 20 percent of national benefit payments in 2005 - so its results altered national trends. Outside California, total workers' compensation payments rose by 1.7 percent, an increase driven by a 4.1 percent increase in payments to medical providers. Cash payments to injured workers outside California showed a small decline (0.3 percent).

  • Illinois Hospital Reduces Lift Injuries

    OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill., has substantially reduced lift injuries while boosting staff satisfaction with the creation of a new lift team department that provides patient transfer and mobility assistance. Details of the program are available in a white paper titled “Illinois Hospital Reduces Lift Injuries, Staff Satisfaction Soars with Lift Team Department and Liko Lifts.”

    The case study describes how the new safe lifting department originally was created to curtail increasing lift injuries and growing workers' compensation costs. It then evolved into a dedicated patient lift team department that provides 24/7 lifting assistance to the staff and patients in all areas.

    Implementing the program at Saint Francis, a 616-bed, Level I trauma facility, has reduced staff injuries associated with patient handling activities by 30 percent, slashed more than 1,200 restricted work days and generated an estimated $400,000 in savings that has been re-invested back into St. Francis's safe patient handling program and lift team department.

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