Loss Reduction Through Worker Satisfaction: The Case of Workers’ Compensation

Authors

  • Richard J. Butler,

    1. Richard J. Butler, PhD, is the Martha Jane Knowlton Coray University Professor in the Department of Economics, Brigham Young University, phone: 801-422-1372; fax: 801-422-0194; e-mail: richard_butler@byu.edu. William G. Johnson, PhD, is Director, Center for Health Information Research, ASU-Biomedicine, and Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatrics, Arizona State University; e-mail: william.g.johnson@asu.edu. This study was supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs, Arizona State University, and the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University. Corporate/Industry and Institutional funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript. IRB approval for this project was obtained from Arizona State University and East Carolina University. The authors are grateful for the useful comments of our conscientious reviewer who helped to improve this article. The authors also thank the Healthy Back Study Advisory Committee, composed of Troyen A. Brennan, MD, LLD; Scott Haldeman, DC, MD, PhD; Robert Mootz, DC; John J. Triano, DC, PhD; Margaret A. Turk, MD; Robert J. Weber, MD; and Frank A. Zolli, DC, EdD, for guidance throughout the project. This article was subject to double-blind peer review.
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  • William G. Johnson

    1. Richard J. Butler, PhD, is the Martha Jane Knowlton Coray University Professor in the Department of Economics, Brigham Young University, phone: 801-422-1372; fax: 801-422-0194; e-mail: richard_butler@byu.edu. William G. Johnson, PhD, is Director, Center for Health Information Research, ASU-Biomedicine, and Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatrics, Arizona State University; e-mail: william.g.johnson@asu.edu. This study was supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs, Arizona State University, and the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University. Corporate/Industry and Institutional funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript. IRB approval for this project was obtained from Arizona State University and East Carolina University. The authors are grateful for the useful comments of our conscientious reviewer who helped to improve this article. The authors also thank the Healthy Back Study Advisory Committee, composed of Troyen A. Brennan, MD, LLD; Scott Haldeman, DC, MD, PhD; Robert Mootz, DC; John J. Triano, DC, PhD; Margaret A. Turk, MD; Robert J. Weber, MD; and Frank A. Zolli, DC, EdD, for guidance throughout the project. This article was subject to double-blind peer review.
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Abstract

A prospective study of occupational low back pain (LBP) indicates loss reduction efforts in workers’ compensation that improve workers satisfaction with the treatment of their claim significantly improves levels of recovery (reduces losses) and lowers workers’ compensation insurance costs. The improved outcomes associated with greater worker satisfaction with the firm's treatment of their injury claim, as well as with the treatment from their health care provider, are robust to five alternative measures of back problems, including leg pain and back pain scales, measures of functional limitation, and quality of life scales. Satisfaction with effectiveness of the health care is more important in recovery than satisfaction with the provider's bedside manner. While satisfaction with health care provider significantly improves back pain and functionality at 6 months, satisfaction with the employer's treatment of the claim is equally important at 6 months and grows in quantitative importance at 1 year. Overall, higher satisfaction with claim treatment reduces the likelihood that an injury becomes an indemnity claim and results in almost a 30 percent reduction in claim costs.

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