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Workers' Compensation & Managed Care

Charting a Course for the Future

A Discussion of Tomorrow's Challenges in Workers' Compensation


James Palmer, Associate Director of Employee Benefits, Human Resources; and Associate Director of Integrated Risk Management, Procter and Gamble, Cincinnati, OH.

James Ellenberger, Assistant Director, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Washington, DC.

Shelda Harden, J.D., M.A., Program Manager, The National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, CO.

Linda Rudolph, M.D., Medical Director, State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation Managed Care Program, San Francisco, CA.

This panel session provided a forum for discussion between four diverse panelists and the general audience.

James Palmer began the session by discussing innovative efforts underway within Procter and Gamble designed to:

  • Improve communication.
  • Place a greater emphasis on prevention.
  • Improve the efficiency of workers' compensation-related activities.

In addition, he discussed broader efforts being undertaken by the State of Ohio to increase communication with workers about their rights, providers, benefits, treatment planning, and return-to-work expectations, with the objective of producing the best possible outcomes and rapid return to work.

From his perspective, James Ellenberger identified a number of future issues that he feels need to be addressed in order to protect injured workers, including:

  • Ensuring a choice of provider.
  • Using occupational medicine doctors.
  • Promoting patient protection legislation.
  • Establishing the freedom to use legal remedies for inappropriate care.
  • Implementing national health care.

Mr. Ellenberger also mentioned that the AFL-CIO is currently working on developing a health purchasing vehicle for members that addresses these issues.

Shelda Harden discussed some of the major issues that States will continue to face, including:

  • Data collection strategies.
  • Developing a consistent workers' compensation vocabulary.
  • Quality assessment.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is addressing some of these issues through an educational outreach initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a series of focus groups with insurance commissioners to determine the issues that regulators and legislators need to know, and research with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to answer the question of how stakeholders are collecting and using workers' compensation data.

Dr. Linda Rudolph discussed how State government will continue to play a critical role in improving workers' compensation systems. According to Rudolph, this role should include:

  • Educating employers and employees about prevention.
  • Facilitating data standardization and availability.
  • Enforcing basic quality standards.
  • Ensuring that all stakeholders communicate and reach consensus on standards for system tools and procedures.


Ellenberger JN. Remarks on Medical Care for Injured Workers in Review, Regulate, or Reform? What Works to Control Workers' Compensation Medical Costs, ed. Thomas W. Grannemann. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Workers Compensation Research Institute, 1994.

Current as of August 1997

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Internet Citation:

Workers' Compensation and Managed Care: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changing Health Care System. Workshop Summary, July 30-August 1, 1997. User Liaison Program, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD.

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

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