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Issues and Performance in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System

Issues and Performance in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System

Michael D. Greenberg
Amelia Haviland
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 80
  • Book Info
    Issues and Performance in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System
    Book Description:

    Examines the performance of Pennsylvania's workers' compensation system, focusing on benefits and compensation, workplace safety, medical care, and dispute resolution. The authors find that the system performs fairly well relative to other states, but that it faces challenges in improving safety and in dealing with rising health care costs. The authors discuss future policy options, emphasizing the need for more and better performance data.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4600-0
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    State workers’ compensation systems involve a basic trade-off in risks affecting workers and employers, such that grievances over workplace injuries are removed from the civil justice system and dealt with through a no-fault administrative compensation scheme. The simple idea behind workers’ compensation is to provide greater certainty and less risk, to both workers and employers, in redressing the consequences of workplace injury. Nearly a century following the adoption of the first workers’ compensation laws by the states, however, the simplicity of the original premise has been overshadowed by complicated administrative mechanisms, pervasive adversarial interests, and fundamental tensions between competing policy...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Benefits, Employer Costs, and Compensation
    (pp. 7-16)

    Any discussion of workers’ compensation policy in Pennsylvania depends first on understanding some basic performance characteristics of the system as a context. What is the magnitude of benefits paid and costs associated with workers’ compensation, how generously does the system compensate injuries, and how effective is it in returning injured claimants to work quickly? Measures of aggregate benefits paid and costs incurred offer a window into the size of the system, the magnitude of liabilities that it addresses, and how it has changed over time. System costs are particularly important to understand, in part because they reflect the underlying pressures...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Safety
    (pp. 17-28)

    Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system for addressing the sequelae of workplace injuries by providing claimants with medical care and compensatory payments for their lost wages. Because employers are compelled to pay for the benefits to workers that are thus provided, there is a basic conflict of interest between employers and workers over the extent and applicability of those benefits. Employers and workers tend to have legitimate disagreements over a number of aspects of workers’ compensation policy, including some of the primary contours that define indemnity and medical payments under the system. Presumably, though, all parties would agree that workplace...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Medical Care
    (pp. 29-40)

    A crucial aspect of any workers’ compensation system is a set of mechanisms and standards for providing medical care to injured workers. Medical care is important in redressing the direct, physical effects of injury (and of hazardous exposure) in the workplace, and one criterion for evaluating a workers’ compensation system involves looking at claimants’ access to, outcomes from, and satisfaction with medical care. Medical care is also important because of its collateral effects on the indemnity side of workers’ compensation: Addressing injuries quickly and effectively and returning claimants to their jobs and to the workplace can diminish the demand for...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Dispute Resolution
    (pp. 41-50)

    Disputes over workers’ compensation claims arise between workers and employers (and their insurers) when claims for benefits submitted by the former are rejected or challenged by the latter. Disputed claims can arise in connection with a number of different legal and medical issues, including entitlement to benefits and the putative workplace causation of an injury, disability status, and benefits following recovery from injury. When disputes over these sorts of issues arise in the Pennsylvania system, they are dealt with primarily by the workers’ compensation judges in the Office of Adjudication. In effect, these workers’ compensation judges provide a specialized justice...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Discussion
    (pp. 51-56)

    The primary aim of this paper has been to examine the performance of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system across several of its major functions and to identify and explore some of the major policy issues that the system faces. This paper has also endeavored to recommend some options that the commonwealth should consider in addressing those issues in the future (see Table 6.1). Where possible, we have grounded our discussion by reviewing available evidence and published data on the recent performance of the system. Our main focus in this paper has been on several specific aspects of the system, including...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 57-60)