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Unnecessary medical expenditures and how they affect workers compensation were a key focus of Business Insurance's fourth annual Worker's Compensation Virtual Conference.
The Aug. 22 virtual conference centered on solutions to optimize comp claims management.
A 2009 study by the Institute of Medicine found there were $700 billion in unnecessary costs in the U.S. health care system, said keynote speaker Dr. Richard A. Victor, executive director of the Workers' Compensation Research Institute.
He highlighted the main reasons for the excess costs: unnecessary care, too-high prices and inefficiently delivered medical services.
The three factors alone account for nearly $500 billion in unnecessary medical expenditures, said Dr. Victor, who said his main area of interest currently is abuse of prescription opioid medications.
“It's very common for injured workers to receive at least one opioid prescription,” Dr. Victor said during the presentation. “The question is how long does their treatment for opioids last?”
Periodic and random drug testing and psychiatric evaluations and treatments are ways to decrease long-term abuse of opioid painkillers among comp claimants, Dr. Victor said.
Sessions during the virtual conference provided strategies and advice to control comp costs.
“Getting the Best Results from Workers Comp Claims Management” featured David Donn, president of David Donn Consulting Inc.; Mark E. Field, risk manager of Raley's Inc.; and David North, president and CEO of Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.
“Relying on Health Advocacy for Improved Results” featured Kimberly George, senior vice president of managed care practices and client services at Sedgwick.
“How to Avoid Complications in Medicare Secondary Payer Act Compliance” featured Roy Franco, principal of Franco Signor L.L.C.; Aaron Frederickson, director of Medicare Secondary Payer compliance at Allsup Inc.; and Craig Storey, business development executive at Rising Medical Solutions.
The free virtual conference is available on demand online at www.businessinsurance.com/2013wcconference.