Improving the Quality of Workers' Compensation Health Care Delivery: The Washington State Occupational Health Services Project


Thomas Wickizer Department of Health Services, Box 357660, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7660 (


Researchers and health policy analysts in Washington State set out to determine the extent to which administrative process changes and delivery system interventions within workers' compensation affect quality and health outcomes for injured workers. This research included a pilot project to study the effects of providing occupationally focused health care through managed care arrangements on health outcomes, worker and employer satisfaction, and medical and disability costs. Based on the results, a new initiative was developed to incorporate several key delivery system components. The Washington State experience in developing a quality improvement initiative may have relevance for health care clinicians, administrators, policymakers, and researchers engaged in similar pursuits within the general medical care arena.