Board Converting News, April 11, 2022

Reducing Premiums (CONT’D FROM PAGE 26)

keep tight control of it,” says Adelson. “Every employer needs to ask, ‘If one of my people gets hurt, what process will we use to monitor the medical treatment?’ You want to have the best control you can.” Comorbidities COVID-produced stress has also sparked an increase in long-term health complications called comorbidities: the simultaneous presence of two or more medical diagnoses. Combinations of anxiety, substance abuse, hypertension, depression, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions can lead to costly treatments that last for months or years. A recent study from the NCCI found that workers’ comp claims involving comorbidities have nearly tripled since 2000 and can be twice as costly as other claims. Some employers are introducing wellness initiatives to mitigate the growth of comorbidities. A recent report from The Horton Group, an insurance, employee benefits and risk advisory firm, recommended addressing chronic health conditions and improving overall staff well-being to “reduce the severity of workers’ compensation claims and maintain low comorbidity rates.” Closely affiliated with comorbidities are another work- ers’ comp headache: mega claims that typically incur loss- es of $3 million or more. “In the context of workers’ com- pensation, a mega claim is typically a seven figure-claim resulting from some sort of fall or motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to the central nervous system or multi-

been legalized for such purposes. “Some state legisla- tures and courts are struggling with the marijuana issue as it relates to workers’ comp,” says Sieberg. “If marijuana is used in a treatment program and has a positive effect on an injured employee, should it be covered? In many cases the answer is still unclear.” Employers need to consult with their attorneys for insight into the nexus between regula- tion and workplace practices. Addiction to opioids, as well as usage of other drugs, can lead to workplace absences and illnesses that require medical attention. Employers are responding by introduc- ing zero tolerance workplace drug policies. “Many com- panies have pretty strict rules about drug use today,” says Free. “They don’t care what you do out of work, but if you come to work high or drunk or on drugs, they have the right to kick you off campus right away.” Supervisors are also being trained in the difficult skill of spotting possible drug use. “Somebody can be an addict, but they don’t look wasted or like a drunk or stoned per- son,” says Free. “They look normal. You don’t even know until they have an overdose.” A related issue is that of over-treatment with drugs. The poor handling of workers’ comp claims can lead to drug addiction, so more employers are taking a hands-on ap- proach to monitoring the prescriptions given to their per- sonnel. “You have to see where the money’s going and


Let’s Tell Our Recycling Story

Investment, Jobs Created, Tons Produced

Rick Van Horne, Director of Creative Marketing Corrugated Supplies Corp. LLC


April 11, 2022

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