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Workers’ comp reforms coming to Pennsylvania school district

A return-to-work program may be coming to the Baldwin-Whitehall School District very soon. The district is concerned that school employee workers' compensation claims have increased around 20 percent per year for the past five years. Controlling and reducing costs is the primary focus of this Pennsylvania school district.

The proposed return-to-work program would permit claimants to reduce their time spent on workers' compensation claim payouts. By assigning less demanding alternative duties to these employees, they can return to productive jobs faster. Also, the program would offer customized employee training to reduce future workplace injuries.

An additional recommendation involves creating a committee focused on workers' compensation issues. The school board agreed this was a valuable idea and will create such a committee shortly. One board member agreed with implementing a return-to-work program, but believes the board should also seek bids from other providers. This member was displeased that the consultants, who've worked with the B-W school board since 2006, did not present such a proposal in the past.

The potential program providers responded that the previous administration never asked the consultants to make such a suggestion or presentation. Another board member expressed surprise that B-W did not have a return-to-work program, as he had never worked for an organization without one. Not surprisingly, he urged the school board to adopt these recommendations immediately.

The board member commented that, with all the costs they cannot control, this is a useful cost minimization program they can control. Do you agree with this board member's position? Should the school board reduce workers' compensation expenses with a return-to-work program? Do you have any other workers' compensation cost control suggestions?

Source: Baldwin-Whitehall Patch, "Workers' Compensation Changes Likely for B-W School District," Robert Edward Healy, III, Aug. 9, 2012

Workers' compensation cases are often complex. Our firm provides counsel in these types of matters. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Pennsylvania workers' compensation page.

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