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Predictions for the work comp world in 2013 – page three

Now that the easy ones are out of the way, let’s get into the final four predictions.

7.  We’ll learn that physician dispensing of repackaged drugs has harmed patients

When physicians dispense drugs, they don’t have access to the huge databases used by pharmacists to track patients’ meds and alert them to potentially dangerous drug-to-drug interactions.  Moreover, the work comp doc often is seeing the patient for the first time, doesn’t know what drugs they are taking, and the patient often misremembers as well.  This is a recipe for disaster.

This year we will learn of one (or likely more) patients harmed or killed as a result.

8.  The good folk at NCCI will finally schedule a credible liberal speaker for their annual meeting.

After a steady diet of Charles Krauthammers, Arthur Laffers, Peggy Noonans, and Scott Harringtons, it’s time for a little balance – and not a token a la Alan Colmes.  No, we need a  real liberal to shake things up.  How about Barney Frank? Jon Stewart? Rachel Maddow? Bill Moyers? James Carville? Donna Brazile?

Ok, I know it isn’t going to happen, but still, wouldn’t that be great? Alas, I’m afraid we’re going to hear yet another polemic about the evils of socialized medicine, wealth redistribution, and over-regulation…

9.  The level of interest and activity around opting out of workers’ comp will increase – significantly

Driven by growing frustration with the moribund, hide-bound, usually-dysfunctional “system” that is workers comp in most states, employers and legislators will push harder in more states for the ability to opt out of workers’ comp.  See Peter Rousmaniere’s excellent review of Texas’ approach for more on this, and kudos to Sedgwick for funding the project.

10.  Predictive modeling for claims management will come of age.

If there’s one over-hyped yet misunderstood topic in workers comp it’s predictive modeling.  I’m hoping 2013 sees a lot more precision and clarity in articles about, discussions of, and reports on predictive modeling. Less marketing blahblah and more specifics; way less hype generation and a lot more “this is what we did and this is what the results were and this is what we learned”.  There’s no question that effective and targeted statistical analysis can drive much better results; there’s also no question much of what we’ve seen to date shows the talk has not delivered the sought-after results.

However, as studies such as the one published by Dr Ed Bernacki and Jeffrey Austin White of Accident Fund show, there is good work – very good work – being done.  We just need more results; I expect we’ll see more this year…

We shall see what happens, what doesn’t, and what surprises the New Year brings. As it undoubtedly will. 

One thought on “Predictions for the work comp world in 2013 – page three”

  1. I totally agree with more interest in “Opting Out” expanding. The current system will be the main driver!

    Also, perhaps the “Good Folks” at NCCI should invite Cy King, President of MEDATA and Barney Frank! Now that would be interesting!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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