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Study Finds Wellness Works

DETROIT - Employees who participate in wellness programs suffer fewer workplace injuries, according to a four-year study of Xerox Corporation workers.

The study found that 5.6 percent of wellness program participants filed workers' comp claims, compared to 8.9 percent of non-participants, reported the Associated Press. The average cost per injury in 1998 for the wellness program participants was $6,506, compared to $9,482 for non-participants.

AP quoted a 1999 National Safety Council Study saying that workplace injuries in the United States cost $125 billion a year, including $62 billion in lost wages and productivity, $19.9 billion in medical costs and $16.7 billion in other employer costs. The average cost of a claim is $10,488, and 6.2 percent of workers filed workers' compensation claims in 1998.

2 Fired in $1.9 Million Scam

ATLANTA - Two senior officials were fired in connection with an investigation of the city's workers' compensation program. A former police officer was charged with billing the city for $1.9 million for rehabilitation work that she never performed. She had set up office space for her private company within the city's finance department, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The manager of the workers' compensation program and the city's accounting director were dismissed in connection with the case.

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Claims Adjusters in High Demand

HARTFORD, Conn. - The property-casualty insurance industry is suffering from a shortage of experienced claims professionals, according to a study by Conning & Company. Owing partly to an emphasis in the 1990s on increasing premium rather than developing future claims professionals, many insurers are now finding that their claims departments are weakened and overworked, according to the study.

Fired? Get Unemployment, Not Workers' Compensation

CONCORD - New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen signed a bill to restrict stress claims filed in response to poor work performance appraisals. The new law clarifies the workers' compensation rules to exclude mental injuries resulting from "good faith" personnel actions such as disciplinary actions, transfers, critical performance reviews or terminations, reported the industry newsletter Insurance Journal.

Doctor Jailed for Bogus WC Exams

BOSTON - A Massachusetts doctor was sentenced to two consecutive three-to-five year prison terms for sexually assaulting female patients during workers' compensation medical examinations.

Dr. Marcos Ramos ordered one woman to disrobe for a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exam, reported the Boston Globe. The woman realized something was amiss when the doctor started fondling her breasts. Another woman testified that Ramos said he needed to listen to her pulse in the groin area, but she noticed that he neglected to place the stethoscope listening posts in his ears during the procedure. Prosecutors said Ramos threatened to cut off the women's insurance benefits if they complained.

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Sexes Divided on Causes of Injury

WASHINGTON - Men suffer most lost-time workplace injuries, according to remarks delivered to a panel of the Department of Labor by D.W. Schrempf, president of the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc.

While about two-thirds of all carpal tunnel claims involve female workers, two-thirds of all other lost-time claims involve men, Schrempf said. Carpal tunnel injuries account for only 2 percent of claims in all states.

More than one out of every five lost-time claims involves a back jury. Most back injuries are caused by one-time events such as sprains and strains.

Premium Rates Rise in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE - Workers' compensation premium rates on average rose 4 percent on July 1. But according to the Milwaukee Business Journal, rates for covering office and clerical employees actually decreased 2.42 percent. At the other end of the spectrum of job classifications, rates for contract workers such as landscapers and construction workers rose 9.23 percent. The Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau determined the rates, based on data supplied by the NCCI.

255 Workers' Comp Carriers in Michigan

LANSING - The workers' compensation market remains competitive in Michigan with 255 insurance carriers actively writing policies in the state last year, according to a study by the Compensation Advisory Organization of Michigan. No single company controls more than 17 percent of the market, noted a report in the Insurance Journal magazine.

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Quick Links
Study Finds Wellness Works
2 Fired in $1.9 Million Scam
Claims Adjusters in High Demand
Fired? Get Unemployment, Not Workers' Compensation
Doctor Jailed for Bogus WC Exams
Sexes Divided on Causes of Injury
Premium Rates Rise in Wisconsin
255 Workers' Comp Carriers in Michigan

Summer 2001 News
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Workers' Comp Cycle
AASCIF Survey
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North Dakota's 40th Conviction
AASCIF Publications Contest Winners
Around AASCIF
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Medical Miracle or Mirage?
Internal Auditor's Role
RSI Not Necessarily an ADA Disability
In a Staff of 1
Auto Audit
Hot Seat Makes a PR Job Sizzle
September 11,2001
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