I invited Secretary John McMahon to give us a behind-the-scenes look at how the Department of Labor (DOL) is working to become more efficient and effective. The system he describes below is a great example of an effort that saves taxpayer money, reduces costs for employers, and improves services to individuals who need it.
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The Workers’ Compensation Health Care Payment System (HCPS) went into effect as the result of a reform effort in 2008; however, the results of this new system have been clearly realized in the two years since. The system was designed to provide quality care to injured workers while controlling costs. HCPS contains five major provisions: Fee Schedule, Practice Guidelines, Utilization Review, Medical Provider Certification and Employer/Provider Forms.
Since implementation began, the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC) has been working hard to lower the overall costs of claims and improve the quality of care. This translates into lower premiums for Delaware employers, making it a bit easier to keep Delawareans working and bring on new employees. The reduction of costs across the board has been realized by both the public and private sector, including the State.
The HCPS has been a veritable “one-two punch,” containing costs via the Fee Schedule while maintaining quality care via the Practice Guidelines. The Fee Schedule establishes maximum reimbursement rates for all nationally recognized medical procedure codes. The Practice Guidelines were developed by medical providers using the most current, well-documented scientific research and provide parameters for carpal tunnel, chronic pain, cumulative trauma, lower back, shoulder and cervical treatment.
The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau, Inc. (DCRB) is the independent authority that collects and analyzes workers’ compensation insurance data and recommends rates to the Insurance Commissioner. According to the DCRB, voluntary and residual market rates have been markedly reduced as a direct result of HCPS. In fact, the DCRB has announced the 6th straight reduction in workers’ compensation premiums.
Through the success of the Health Care Payment System, the OWC expects to see further reductions in costs and premium rates. Through collaboration with the DCRB, we will soon start to see results from a data collection effort that will result in even more accurate and fair pricing within our Fee Schedule.
We invite you to visit the Department of Labor website at Delawareworks.com. We have more information there about workers’ compensation, as well as job opportunities, labor law enforcement, training, and Delaware’s One Stop Business Registration and Licensing System.
If you have questions, please get in touch with the Department of Labor office nearest you.
We’re happy to help!