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Current Trends in Workers’ Comp and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure. Sherri Hickey-Director of Medical Management. Industry Trends Increased Medical Costs. Utilization (frequency) and Severity (cost) of treatment Overall decrease in utilization of medical

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current trends in workers comp and bloodborne pathogen exposure

Current Trends in Workers’ Comp and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

Sherri Hickey-Director of Medical Management

industry trends increased medical costs
Industry TrendsIncreased Medical Costs
  • Utilization (frequency) and Severity (cost) of treatment
    • Overall decrease in utilization of medical
    • Severity continues to increase at approximately 6% annually from 2002-2010 vs. 3.4% for indemnity costs over that same time frame. (NCCI)
    • Medical now accounts for 60% of WC claim costs and rising
treatment inefficiencies
Treatment Inefficiencies
  • 29% of all medical diagnoses are wrong*
  • 60% of treatment plans require a correction*
  • 38% of surgeries are unnecessary*

* Best Doctors 2011 U.S. data; consistent with findings of The American Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association and numerous other scholarly publications. Surgery data from U.S. National Institute of Health

prescription drug use and abuse
Prescription Drug Use and Abuse
  • Since 1999, the number of prescription painkiller deaths has risen more than 300%
  • Narcotics account for 34% of total drug spending for WC as opposed to 3% for group health (IMS Institute for Healthcare Informantics)
  • Over 90% of all narcotics are consumed in the United States.
  • Narcotics accounted for 14,800 deaths in 2008. Second leading cause of accidental death. More than heroin and cocaine combined.
prescription drug use and abuse continued
Prescription Drug Use and Abuse (continued)

Problems associated with narcotics

  • Studies show that narcotics increase disability, litigation and chances for surgery
  • One study reports temporary total disability 3.5 times higher when narcotics prescribed
  • All prescription drugs have side effects which sometimes lead to more drugs or treatment
  • Off label prescribing for conditions not intended for the drug
prescription drug use and abuse continued1
Prescription Drug Use and Abuse (continued)

Causes of Narcotic Problems

  • Few requirements for monitoring or accountability by prescribing physicians
  • No mandatory drug monitoring or testing
  • No control of off label prescriptions
  • Very little control of pain clinics

The Good News

  • Tide seems to be starting to turn
  • Physicians are starting to be prosecuted.
  • States are putting controls in place, Washington, Texas, California.
co morbidities
Co-morbidities

Co-morbidities are pre-existing medical conditions that might impact the recovery from a subsequent injury or illness.

  • In 1996, no state had more than 20% of the population considered obese (BMI > 30%). As of 2010, no state had less than 20% of population considered obese. (CDC)
  • According to a June 2012 NCCI study, obese workers are likely to have 5 times the disability of a non-obese worker with comparable injuries.
  • NCCI also states that claims with co-morbidity treatments have 2-5 times the cost of otherwise comparable claims.
other medical challenges
Other Medical Challenges

Medical cost shifting to Workers’ Compensation

  • WC has long been considered by medical providers as being one of the best sources of reimbursement
  • Historically WC treatment was paid at 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than HMOs, Medicare and group health.
  • This has decreased due to fee schedules, PPOs, bill re-pricing vendors, etc., but WC rates are still higher than non WC.
  • Higher reimbursement rates might create incentives for medical providers to submit as WC or prolong treatment
physician dispensing
Physician Dispensing

Physician Drug dispensing

    • Increases costs of drugs and could be a conflict of interest due to financial incentive for physicians to prescribe drugs
  • CWCI study – If an MD is dispensing:
    • Total medical spend is 37.3% higher
    • Indemnity is 28.2% higher
    • Paid TTD days are 8.9% higher
medicare set asides
Medicare Set-Asides

Problems with this process:

  • Delays the settlement process by months
  • Funding for medical treatment or drugs that employees might never use
  • Future projections are based on current treatment even if we know it will change, e.g., narcotics, stimulators, pain pumps
  • If an MSA is necessary and not completed, the claim might stay open for the claimant’s lifetime
  • We used to settle for reasonable amounts but now cannot
medicare set asides continued
Medicare Set-Asides (continued)

Examples of Safety National MSAs:

  • MSA amount = $72,784 CMS demand/revision = $125,619
  • MSA amount = $64,016 CMS demand/revision = $361,752
  • MSA amount = $248,089 CMS demand/revision = $726,149
  • MSA amount = $37,026 CMS demand/revision = $247,699
  • MSA amount = $8,022 CMS demand/revision = $44,023

Average increase on these claims about $215k, or 250%.

biopsychosocial issues
Biopsychosocial Issues

Factors to consider that could cause problems with the WC claim:

  • History of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Work dissatisfaction
  • Family, legal or financial problems
  • Low expectations of recovery
  • Disabled spouse or young children at home
  • Low wage earner
  • History of depression or moodiness
biopsychosocial issues continued
Biopsychosocial Issues (continued)
  • Studies have shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has had impressive results in treating these injured workers. This treatment does not involve medications but rather therapy or counseling from psychologists or psychotherapists.
  • Studies have also shown decreased disability when these factors are treated rather than ignored.
  • IMCS provides this therapy without using a psych diagnosis code.
session objectives
Session Objectives

Identify bloodborne pathogens (BBPs)

Understand how diseases are transmitted

Determine your risk of exposure

Protect yourself from exposure through prevention

Respond appropriately if exposed

what are bloodborne pathogens
What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?
  • Microorganisms present in human blood that can cause disease
    • Viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi
  • Primary workplace pathogens
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
hepatitis b virus hbv
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
  • 1.4 million people infected
  • Symptoms
    • Jaundice, fatigue, and abdominal pain
    • No appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Vaccine is available
  • HBV can survive outside the body
hepatitis c virus hcv
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
  • HCV is the most common chronic bloodborne infection—3.2 million infected
  • Symptoms can take years to manifest
    • Flu-like symptoms, jaundice, dark urine, and fatigue
    • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Treatment is marginally effective
transmission of pathogens
Transmission of Pathogens
  • Contaminated sharp objects or needles
  • Broken skin, including rashes
  • Mucous membranes
    • Eyes
    • Mouth
    • Nose
bloodborne pathogens law
Bloodborne Pathogens Law

29 CFR 1910.1030 requires:

  • A written Exposure Control Plan (ECP)
  • Engineering and work practice controls
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Training
protect yourself
Protect Yourself
  • Review the ECP and OSHA regulation
  • Take universal precautions
  • Use personal protective equipment
  • Follow safe work practices
  • Get the hepatitis B vaccination
  • Follow decontamination and disposal procedures
what is the exposure control plan
What is the Exposure Control Plan?
  • Identifies jobs and tasks for potential exposure
  • Describes engineering and safe work practices
  • Outlines training requirements
  • Identifies the placement and use of signs and labels
  • Explains how to decontaminate equipment and work surfaces
take universal precautions
Take Universal Precautions
  • Treat all blood and bodily fluids as if infected
  • Use barrier protection to avoid contact with infected bodily fluids
  • Immediately clean up and decontaminate surfaces and equipment

Image Credit: OSHA

use personal protective equipment
Use Personal Protective Equipment
  • Barrier protection prevents exposure
  • Use gloves when applying bandages or cleaning up
  • Eyewear or masks protect against splashes
  • Protective clothing or aprons protect against spurting blood
ppe cont
PPE (cont.)
  • Use a mask for nose and mouth protection
  • Use a CPR mask
  • Be prepared to use impromptu barriers such as a garbage bag, plastic, paper, or your shirt
avoid puncture wounds
Avoid Puncture Wounds
  • Use tongs, forceps, or similar tools to pick up potentially contaminated items

Image Credit: State of WA-WISHA Services

general decontamination
General Decontamination
  • Wear appropriate gloves and glasses to protect eyes, nose, mouth, and skin
  • Use a bodily fluid disposal kit
  • Use 10% bleach or EPA-approved disinfectant for spills
  • Dispose of contaminated items
exposure incident
Exposure Incident
  • Wash cuts and skin thoroughly
  • Rinse nose and mouth
  • Flush eyes with clean water or sterile solution
  • Clean all contaminated surfaces
  • Report all incidents
post exposure evaluation
Post-Exposure Evaluation
  • Confidential medical evaluation
  • Document route of exposure
  • Identify source individual
  • Test source person’s blood
  • Provide results to source and exposed employees

Image Credit: State of WA-WISHA Services

key points to remember
Key Points to Remember!

Bloodborne pathogens can cause fatal disease

Be aware of exposure at work

Take universal precautions

Use PPE and safe work practices

Decontaminate yourself and equipment

Understand and follow exposure incident procedures

Report exposure incidents