SOURCE: WorkMed

August 06, 2008 15:17 ET

WorkMed Announces Four Keys to Diminishing the Costs of Workers' Compensation

Dr. Russell Dunnum, One of the Nation's Most Knowledgeable Workers' Compensation Experts, Looks at Why Companies Are Overpaying for Workers' Compensation Costs

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - August 6, 2008) - A lack of understanding and familiarity with the system, longer employee absences, unclosed claims and high medical costs are driving up workers' compensation expenses, costing employers nationwide thousands of dollars. Dr. Russell Dunnum, president and CEO of WorkMed, a full-service occupational and workers' compensation medical provider in San Diego, Calif., says simple actions can help businesses reduce costly workers' compensation costs.

"At a time when most businesses cannot afford to put gas in their tanks, they are getting hit hard with high workers' compensation costs," says Dr. Dunnum. "More than half of my clients in Southern California overpaid for their workers' compensation packages last year. Working with them, we helped them understand a few easy things they could do to correct these costly mistakes."

Most business leaders do not have the time and energy to understand the complexities of the workers' compensation law, especially because labor laws change frequently and each state has its own set of legal requirements and rules. To help businesses understand and navigate the workers' compensation maze, Dr. Dunnum outlines four major steps a company can take to reduce costly workers' compensation costs.

1)  Close open-ended claims
    Companies should pay close attention to filed claims and make sure they
    are closed in a timely manner. Unclosed claims are a costly factor that
    could be driving up the cost of workers' compensation premiums.  For
    example, a simple slip and fall claim from a couple of years ago that
    hasn't been resolved could result in a huge increase in premiums.  "If
    the claim is not closed, the reserve costs paid by the employer will
    continue," says Dunnum. "This can be a costly mistake."


2)  Get injured employees back to work quickly
    Injured workers need to receive the highest level of quality care and
    get back to work quickly, at a pre-injury level. The increase cost in
    treating employees who are spending more time away from work after
    filing a claim is another major impact on an employer's bottom-line.
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers'
    compensation claims involving more than 30 days away from work
    increased by 15 percent.

3)  Develop a modified/return to work program
    Significantly reduce workers compensation costs through an effective
    and successful modified/return to work program. Injured workers who are
    off work for six months have only a 50 percent chance of ever returning
    to full employment. (Source: Department of Labor Statistics)

4)  Make sure claims are legitimate
    It is imperative to make sure an injury falls under the correct legal
    guidelines of a workers' compensation issue. Under a new California
    law, the employer is responsible for paying $10,000 for the first 90
    days until the claim is denied.  An unbiased and objective examination
    can determine if an injury is "not compensable," in other words,
    protecting employer from illegitimate claims which saves your company
    significant unnecessary expense.

About WorkMed

WorkMed is a full-service occupational and workers' compensation medical provider in San Diego, Calif. For more than two decades, WorkMed and its team of medical professionals have helped prevent and treat thousands of work-related injuries through its aggressive work in preventive medicine, clinical care and education. The company ensures its clients' injured employees receive the highest quality of care, while always working to reduce its clients' workers' compensation costs.

For more information on how to reduce costly workers' compensation costs or on WorkMed contact Dr. Russell Dunnum, (858) 457-4717 or email: drdunnum@workmedsandiego.com.

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