Panel Education

While the rising cost of healthcare remains headline news, medical costs are escalating faster in Virginia for workers’ compensation.  These increasing costs are a challenge facing the business community and a significant part of your workers’ compensation premium.

In a recent study* comparing 16 states, here are some startling Virginia statistics on the cost of medical treatment for work related injuries:

  • medical costs per claim among highest of the 16 study states
  • medical payments per claim were 22% higher than the median state
  • hospital outpatient payments/claim 43% higher than typical
  • hospital inpatient payments 15% higher than typical.

Virginia employers have rights and duties under Virginia law that are crucial in controlling workers’ compensation costs.  One of these rights is to direct injured workers to providers that will provide quality care and support returning the employee back to the work force. 

This tool is called the PANEL OF PHYSICIANS (PANEL.)  Section 65.2-603 of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act states “As long as medically necessary after an accident the employer shall furnish or cause to be furnished…,a physician chosen by the injured employee from a PANEL of at least three physicians selected by the employer.”

The Board of Commonwealth Contractors strongly supports this very important right of Virginia employers.  The PANEL is important for many reasons; providing quality care to your employees, promoting healthy return to work and controlling your workers’ compensation costs. 

We can’t emphasize the importance of this tool enough.  Please take the time to establish an effective PANEL. 

Don’t have claims?  We salute your efforts.  But, just like having insurance in the event that you do, you NEED to have a valid PANEL prepared in the event of an accident.

* Source WCRI – CompScope Benchmarks for Virginia, 14th ed. – WC-13-37 (Oct 2013)

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Commonwealth Contractors’ Management Seminar

November 15th, Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg VA

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