Issues Executive Order Bringing Together Experts to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs
CONCORD – In order to help reduce workers’ compensation costs that are a burden on New Hampshire businesses and ensure that injured workers have access to high-quality care, Governor Maggie Hassan today issued an Executive Order creating the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs.
“Employers and workers have done their part to increase workplace safety, but New Hampshire has become one of the most expensive states in the nation for workers’ compensation, a burden on businesses across the state,” Governor Hassan said. “By bringing together business leaders and experts from insurance, health care and labor, the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs provides an opportunity for stakeholders to identify ways to reduce workers’ compensation medical costs and ensure that injured workers have access to quality care. With these reforms, our businesses will be able to re-invest these dollars in growing their companies, creating new jobs and keeping our economy moving in the right direction.”
Tasked with making recommendations to reform New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system, the commission will review the data behind New Hampshire’s high workers’ compensation costs; analyze efforts by other states to successfully reduce workers’ compensation costs; review how other states ensure continued access to quality care for injured workers; and develop comprehensive reforms that will reduce costs and premiums and improve New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system while ensuring that injured workers have access to quality care.
According to the Oregon Workers Compensation Rate Ranking Study, New Hampshire rose from the 14th-most expensive state for workers’ compensation coverage in the country in 2008 to the ninth-most expensive in 2012. In addition, data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance shows that workers’ compensation surgical procedures in New Hampshire are 83 percent more expensive than those in the region and more than twice as expensive as they are nationally. For more information on New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation costs, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2014/documents/052214.pdf.
“New Hampshire is among the most expensive states for workers’ compensation, an unnecessary disadvantage for businesses that operate here,” said New Hampshire Insurance Department Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “I look forward to working with the commission to improve our workers’ compensation system by making recommendations to reduce costs and premiums while ensuring that workers have access to quality care.”
Commissioner Sevigny will be the chairman of the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs. He will be joined on the commission by New Hampshire Department of Labor Commissioner Jim Craig or a designee from the department, as well as a diverse group of experts representing workers, employers, insurance professionals and the health care sector.
The Commission’s final report is due to the Governor on December 1, 2014.
Other members of the commission are:
· Brian Allen, Vice President of Government Affairs at HELIOS (formerly Progressive Medical/PMSI)
· Donald F. Baldini, AVP and State Affairs Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance
· Pamela Bronson, Administrator at Access Sports Medicine & Orthopedics
· Paul W. Chant of Cooper Cargill Chant
· Tammy Denver, Director of Claims & Coverage Programs at NH Public Risk Management Exchange (Primex3)
· Edward Dudley, Executive Vice President/CFO of Catholic Medical Center
· Mark Erdody, Director of New England Claims for Cove Risk Services, LLC
· Marc Lacroix, New Hampshire Physical Therapy Association and Director of Specialty Services at Concord Hospital
· David Lang, President of Professional Firefighters of NH
· Mark Mackenzie, President of NH AFL-CIO
· Peter McNamara, President of NH Automobile Dealers Association
· Dr. Gregory Soghikian of New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center
· Ben Wilcox, President & General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort
The full text of the Governor’s Executive Order is attached and below.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
BY HER EXCELLENCY
MARGARET WOOD HASSAN
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2014-7
An order establishing a Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs
WHEREAS, workers and employers across New Hampshire have partnered together to make their workplaces safer and to reduce on-the-job injuries;
WHEREAS, it is critical that injured workers have access to high-quality medical care and that we recognize medical practices often bear higher costs and administrative obligations when treating and assisting workers injured on the job;
WHEREAS, while rates are expected to drop slightly in the coming year, New Hampshire was ranked the ninth-most expensive state for workers’ compensation insurance in 2012, a change driven by increasing medical costs;
WHEREAS, according to a New Hampshire Department of Insurance review, medical costs in New Hampshire have grown to almost 75 percent of total workers’ compensation dollars spent in New Hampshire, compared to about 60 percent nationwide;
WHEREAS, the same review showed that on average workers’ compensation surgical procedures in New Hampshire are 83 percent more expensive than those in the region and more than twice as expensive as they are nationally;
WHEREAS, as an employer, state government pays significantly more for procedures covered by workers’ compensation coverage compared to the same procedures covered through the state’s group medical coverage;
WHEREAS, higher workers’ compensation costs result in higher premiums that impact employers, workers and the economy by diverting resources that could be used for other priorities such as increased wages, new hires and investments in company infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, most other states have implemented strategies to successfully reduce medical costs for workers’ compensation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, by the authority vested in me pursuant to Part II, Article 41 of the New Hampshire Constitution, do hereby establish, effective September 4, 2014, a Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs, which shall comprise the commissioners of Insurance and Labor, as well as individuals representing workers, employers, insurance professionals and health care.
FURTHER, the Commissioner of the Department of Insurance shall serve as chair;
FURTHER, the Commission shall:
- Review data and information explaining the basis for high workers’ compensation costs in New Hampshire;
- Review laws, regulations and other efforts undertaken by other states to successfully reduce workers’ compensation medical costs and other workers’ compensation costs;
- Review laws, regulations and other efforts undertaken by other states to ensure continued access by injured workers to high-quality health care providers;
- Develop and recommend a comprehensive reform to reduce medical costs and premiums in New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system while preserving access to health care for workers, and
- Make any other recommendations the Commission believes necessary to improve New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system to reduce costs and premiums, improve the care to workers, and to help workers return to the job in a timely matter.
FINALLY, the Commission shall submit its final report to the Governor by December 1, 2014.
Given under my hand and seal at the Executive Chambers in Concord, this 4th day of September, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and fourteen, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and thirty-nine.
GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE