Newswise — The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) have announced a partnership aimed at promoting better outcomes of injuries and illnesses in the U.S. workers’ compensation system.
The two organizations will work together to raise awareness of issues in workers’ compensation that are diminishing the quality of medical care for injured and ill workers and negatively impacting employers.
Statistics show that workers’ compensation medical costs per claim are rising much faster than medical costs in general and faster than indemnity costs per claim. Despite the rise in costs, medical outcomes within the workers’ compensation system, according to several major studies, are often worse than those obtained under other benefits systems. Studies also show there are inefficiencies in care delivery in the system and a lack of incentives for medical providers to promote effective, efficient and outcomes-oriented treatment as they diagnose and care for injured and ill workers.
Misaligned incentives within the system can create unnecessary costs and delays, slowing the return of workers to their jobs, jeopardizing employment, and affecting the long-term health and productivity of the American workforce.
In announcing their partnership, ACOEM and IAIABC highlighted the need for better aligned incentives for all stakeholders in workers’ compensation. IAIABC and ACOEM will share resources and participate together in a variety of activities, ranging from co-sponsorship of special events to distribution of white papers and other research- and awareness-building materials. “We are delighted to partner with ACOEM in this effort,” said IAIABC Executive Director Greg Krohm. “Ensuring that injured workers receive high-quality medical care and are returned to productive work with a minimum of functional loss is at the core of both of our organizations’ fundamental mission and values. The IAIABC has had an abiding interest in working with the medical community from its first meeting in 1914.”
“Advocating for improvements to workers’ compensation requires that key stakeholders in the system are engaged in dialogue and we believe that our two organizations are well positioned to facilitate this important component,” said ACOEM Executive Director Barry Eisenberg. “IAIABC is the leading organization representing the government agencies that administer workers’ compensation systems and ACOEM is the leading organization representing the physicians who specialize in work-related illness and injury. It makes sense for us to work together.”
Krohm and Eisenberg said the new partnership would include efforts to encourage more physicians to become occupational health specialists, to use an evidence-based approach to medical treatment and to be more proactive in their use of return-to-work management and counseling for patients. “We should strive for a system that rewards physicians who deliver high-quality medical care, rapidly restore the health and function of injured workers, preserve their livelihoods, and do it all in a cost-efficient manner,” Eisenberg said.
About IAIABCThe International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions is a not-for-profit association representing most of the government agencies charged with the administration of workers’ compensation systems throughout the United States, Canada, and other nations and territories as well as other workers’ compensation professionals in the private sector. Its mission is to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of workers’ compensation systems throughout the world. It is governed by an Executive Committee of jurisdictional agency leaders, and maintains a staff headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. For more information, visit www.iaiabc.org.
About ACOEMThe American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) represents nearly 5,000 physicians specializing in occupational and environmental medicine. Founded in 1916, ACOEM is the nation’s largest medical society dedicated to promoting the health of workers through preventive medicine, clinical care, disability management, research, and education. For more information, visit www.acoem.org.