The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers'' Compensation has released several reports as result of studies conducted by independent researchers.
To broaden the campaign against workers'' compensation fraud and promote a more evenhanded approach to the problem, "A Report on the Campaign Against Workers'' Compensation Fraud," recommends distributing to employers and insurers fraud notices or warnings similar to those given to workers.
These notices could either specifically target employers, providers and insurers or be combined with public notices and warnings currently used.
The report, "Recommendations: Information for Injured Workers," contains suggestions for improving the information given to employees about workers'' compensation and on-the-job injuries.
The recommendations include ways to improve printed information distributed by state information and assistance officers and claims administrators, and ways to clarify benefit notices and improve on the timing of the most problematic notices.
Another commission-initiated "Study of the Cost of Pharmaceuticals in Workers'' Compensation" reports that almost all workers'' compensation pharmacy costs in California are higher than most other states'' systems.
The report recommends requiring generic drugs to fill prescriptions, except when the medical provider specifies "dispense as written," and the insurers and employers approve a limited first fill of prescriptions even if the workers'' compensation claim has not been accepted.
Additional recommendations included in the report are also intended to reduce workers'' compensation pharmaceutical costs.
The commission also added a new fact sheet, "Working After a Job Injury," to its injured worker fact sheet series available in English and Spanish.
Copies of commission reports, the fact sheet series and the commission''s 1999 to 2000 Annual Report are available on the Department of Industrial Relations Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/chswc/chswc.html.
by Virginia Sutcliffe