State of the States August 5, 2022

Covid statistics

Corvel’s newest whitepaper shows that work comp claims increased 6% from 2020 to 2021

NationalCorvel's newest whitepaper shows that claims increased approximately six percent in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2021, covid claims decreased 38 percent while non-covid claims increased 14 percent as many employees returned to work. Using claims data from April 1st to December 31st, the results demonstrate that employers should focus on injury prevention when bringing employees to a full in-person or hybrid work schedule. Top industries for covid claims included healthcare, social assistance, public administration, finance, and insurance. The top states for covid claims were the same as in 2020 with California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  

Despite several covid surges across the U.S., only two states authorized covid-related legislation in 2022

NationalLittle to no substantive covid-related legislation was enacted in 2022. Despite several surges, only Minnesota and Virginia authorized covid presumptions this year compared to 13 states in 2021. While 20 states passed significant covid presumptions since 2020, 30 to 50 percent of claims were denied since the presumptions were mostly rebuttable. The downward trend of covid legislation is likely attributed to vaccines and the end of lockdowns, making it more difficult to accurately source where the injured worker picks up the virus. With this shift, legislators are likely to take on other issues that may have been put to the side amid the thick of the pandemic. 

A new report from McKinsey & Co. reveals that the peak of the great resignation may be near

National

The great resignation continues to disrupt employers, and it's likely not ending anytime soon. New reports from McKinsey & Co. indicate that the resignation trend will probably enter its peak in the coming months. Currently, 40 percent of workers are considering quitting their job within the next six months. Experts indicate that traditional retention levers such as titles, advancements, and even compensation may not help mitigate resignations. While compensation is the primary reason for people leaving their jobs, lack of advancement opportunities, non-meaningful work, and unsustainable work expectations were also cited for increasing resignations. The McKinsey & Co. study included 13,000 participants from 6 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Singapore, India, and the U.K. 

A Pennsylvania court clarified the extend of “orthopedic appliances” when it comes to accommodating injured workers mobility needs

PAPrevious court rulings in the Commonwealth determined that an injured worker may be entitled to home modifications for their injury, such as a wheelchair ramp. However, the court recently  found that benefits to accommodate injury only go so far and do not include an entirely new home. Justices of the Commonwealth Court stated that a previous ruling requiring workers' compensation insurance to cover a new home for an injured worker was "unreasonable." While the court agreed to home modifications being necessary to accommodate injury, they did not see a new home as compensable. This new precedent clarifies the extent of "orthopedic appliances" depending on the severity of the injury. 

Record breaking temperatures due to climate change are putting Oregon’s workplace heat rules to the test

injured-workers-pharmacy-blog-oregonWith heat waves hitting all areas of the country, workers face a higher risk of injury. In Oregon, new heat mitigation standards to further protect workers against extreme temperatures are being tested. The state's new rules implemented last year are considered some of the most comprehensive and supersede national Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Multiple studies, including a recent study from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), show that when temperatures hit 90 degrees or more, injuries risk increases by 6-9 percent. If temperatures hit triple digits risk of injury increases by 10-15 percent. These findings are particularly worrisome in the deep south but also for areas not used to extreme heat, such as New England and the Pacific Northwest. Oregon's heat rules apply when temperatures reach 80 degrees. The rules promulgate that employers must provide access to shaded areas, cool drinking water, and additional rest breaks to cool down and acclimate to the heat. The rule also requires employers to train on heat illness prevention. States such as Florida and Arizona, which are well known for their high temperatures, proposed bills in the legislature to combat heat illness; however, both failed to make it out of committee. 

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