WCRI: Up To 18 Percent Of Injured Workers Never Reach Substantial Return To Work

From 10 to 18% of injured workers never reach “Substantial return to work”, says a research by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) conducted over the course of 2016. The WCRI researchers compared outcomes for injured workers in 6 U.S. states – Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. The interviews have been conducted in 2016.

“Substantial return to work” is defined as return to work and remain working for at least a month before any subsequent period of being away.

The outcomes examined return to work, recovery of physical health and functioning, earnings recovery, access to medical care and satisfaction with medical care.

The Institute has also looked at worker outcomes in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, surveyed in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“By examining outcomes of injured workers, policymakers and other stakeholders can better understand how different state workers’ compensation systems compare in order to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve system performance”, explained for Insurancejournal.com the WCRI’s executive vice president Ramona Tanabe.

The study authors Bogdan Savych and Vennela Thumula explained that WCRI doesn’t claim that working for at least a month is substantial but that “working for a month is more substantial than a typical return to work not lasting for at least a month”.

Findings on return to work the firs 6 States

10% of Indiana workers with more than 7 days of lost time usually don’t return to work for a period of 1 month or more. This is predominantly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 11% reported no substantial return to work within 1 year of the injury.

14% percent of Virginia workers with more than 7 days of lost time reported, never returning to work for a period of 1 month or more, predominantly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 17% reported no substantial return to work within 1 year of the injury.

12% of Wisconsin workers with more than 7 days of lost time reported never returning to work for a period of 1 month or more, mainly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 13% reported no substantial return to work within 1 year of the injury.

15% of Massachusetts workers with more than 7 days of lost time reported never returning to work for a period of 1 month or more, predominantly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 17% reported no substantial return to work within 1 year of the injury.

14% percent of North Carolina workers with more than 7 days of lost time reported never returning to work for at least a 1 month period, mostly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 18% reported no substantial return to work within one year of the injury.

12% of Michigan workers with more than 7 days of lost time reported never returning to work for a period of 1 month or more, mainly due to the injury as of 3 years post-injury. 16% reported no substantial return to work within one year of the injury.