Washington state delays workers' comp rate proposal; guide offers advice on choosing a physician

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries announced last week that it will propose workers' compensation rates for 2011 after the election in November.

L&I traditionally proposes new rates in September but said it is waiting on the outcome of Initiative 1082, which would allow private insurance carriers to write workers' comp insurance in the state, according to a department press release.

The current rate calculation is based on hours worked. Under Initiative 1082, employers would pay premiums based on a rate for every $100 of payroll they pay workers.

Projections of the revenue needed to cover 2011 injury costs also may affect the upcoming rates, the release said.

In other workers' comp news, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Elk Grove Village, IL, and the Madison, WI-based International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions recently published a guide intended to help employers and employees choose physicians to care for work-related injuries and illnesses.

A Guide to High-Value Physician Services in Workers' Compensation (.pdf file) includes criteria for evaluating credentials, learning about a physician's practice style and outcome metrics, and conducting a periodic review to determine whether to continue the relationship.

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