COMPACT

The Newsletter for Workers’ Compensation Professionals February 2002

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry 443 Lafayette Road N. St. Paul, MN 55155

Inside ...
Articles
Department’s settlement action program .. 5 Adjuster training sessions announced ....... 5 Highlights: Workers’ Compensation System Report ..................................... 6 Certified managed care organizations: Role of nonparticipating providers ............ 9 DHS ‘Rule 101’; workers’ compensation health care providers ............................ 10 Claims for slips and falls slide upward in winter months ................................... 11 CompFact: Teachers and assaults .......... 12 Department action on medical issue complaints ................................... 13 Common misperceptions about workers’ compensation coverage ............. 18 Workers’ compensation indemnity claimants’ age, 1990-2000 ..................... 20 Amputation claims: Worker and injury characteristics ............................. 23 Analysis of independent medical exams filed with DLI .............................. 25 Rehabilitation provider conduct and accountability ................................ 27

Tables
• Paid claims per 100 full-time-equivalent workers, injury years 1984-2000 ........... • System cost per $100 of payroll, 1984-2000 ........................................ • Percentage of paid indemnity claims with a vocational rehabilitation plan filed, injury years 1991-2000 ................ • Incidence of disputes, injury years 1984-1999 ........................................ 6 7 7 8

• Slip and fall claims as a percentage of all indemnity claims, annual average, 1996-2000 ........................................ 12 • Assault claims as a percentage of indemnity claims, teachers compared to all other occupations, 1995-2000 ...... 12 • 2001 medical issue complaint cases closed ..................................... 13 • Mean and median age by gender and injury year .................................. • Distributions of age groups by injury year ........................................ • Mean age by occupation, injury year 2000 ................................. • Mean age by industry, injury year 2000 ................................. • Mean age by employment status, injury year 2000 ................................. 20 21 22 22 22

• Most common events producing amputations, 1999 and 2000 ................ 24 • Most common sources of amputation injuries, 1999 and 2000 ....................... 24 • Percentage of claims with a filed-adverse IME report ...................... 26

COMPACT is a publication of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Its purpose is to provide department news and workers’ compensation case information to professionals who work within Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system. Correspondence should be sent to: COMPACT editor, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155; by e-mail at DLI.Communications@state.mn.us. Subscription requests should be sent to Customer Assistance Publications, Workers’ Compensation Division, 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155; by e-mail at DLI.brochure@state.mn.us. Visit www.doli.state.mn.us/compact.html to view this publication on the Web.
Upon request to the editor, COMPACT will be made available in alternative formats such as Braille, large print or audiotape.

Forms
Level 1 Adjuster Training registration ....... 35 Publications order form .......................... 37

Summaries of decisions
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals ........................................... D-1 Minn. Supreme Court decisions................ D-23

Claims for slips and falls slide upward in winter months
By Grant Martin, Research Analyst Research and Statistics

Indemnity claims caused by slips and falls increase in both number and as a percentage of all claims in winter months. And, as obvious as it sounds, the most likely culprits are icy sidewalks, wet floors from melted snow and other unsafe conditions caused by Minnesota’s winter weather. Also obvious, many of these accidents and subsequent costs can be avoided by making sure parking lots, outside sidewalks and inside floors are safe.

These slips are the ones most likely to result from winter weather conditions. “Other slips” includes slips and falls from a different level, falls from a ladder or scaffolding, and miscellaneous slips and falls, incidents that could occur in any weather condition. When slip and fall claims from 1996 through 2000 are divided this way, the data lends support to the conclusion that the increase in slips is mostly attributable to winter weather and not to other possible factors. (Figure 1, page 12) The types of slips and falls most likely attributable to winter conditions increase in winter months and other slips and falls stay relatively constant.

For 1996 through 2000, the data from the DLI claims database shows total slip and fall claims make up 26 percent of all indemnity claims in January, compared with 15 percent in October — about 330 more claims in January than Throughout the year, slips and falls October. When totaled account for a large number of for all winter months — workplace injuries. According to November through March data from 1995 through 1999, — this suggests that up to 1,100 collected for the Survey of indemnity claims a year, about 3 percent of all indemnity Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, claims, can be attributed to increased slips and falls due slip and fall injuries made up 14 percent to winter weather.1 (Figure 1, page 12) of all workplace injuries in Minnesota leading to days away from work. Of those injuries, 64 percent are It is impossible to get an exact number of indemnity classified as falls on the same level. claims caused by winter weather conditions, because slip and fall claims are not recorded at this level of detail. Falls also account for a large percentage of fatal Slip and fall claims caused by ice and melted snow cannot workplace injuries each year, according to data collected be distinguished in DLI data from slip and fall claims for the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. In 2000, caused by other factors, such as recently mopped floors, 13 workers died on the job as a result of an injury caused grease spills or loose electrical cords. But it is possible by a fall; three of those from falls on the same level. to look at causes that most likely result from weather From 1996 through 2000, falls were listed as the cause conditions. of 12 percent of Minnesota’s workplace fatalities, on average annually, ranking as the third leading cause of Slip and fall claims are divided into two groups: slips on workplace fatalities, behind transportation accidents and the same level and other slips. “Slips on the same level” contact with objects and equipment. includes slips and falls caused by liquid spills, slips on Slips and falls, continued on page 12 the same level and slips without falling when walking.

Estimated as the sum of the increase in claims in winter months. The increase is the average number of slip and fall claims in that winter month, minus the average of nonwinter months. COMPACT 11 February 2002

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Slips and falls, continued from page 11

Figure 1
Slip and fall claims as a percentage of all indemnity claims, annual average, 1996-2000
30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% March April May Sept. Feb. Aug. June Nov. Jan. July Oct. Dec.

Slips on the same level [1] Other slips [2] Total slips 1. Cause of accident coded as slip and fall from liquid or grease spills, fall on same level, or slipped, no fall, walking. 2. Cause of accident coded as fall from different level, fall from ladder or scaffolding, or miscellaneous fall. Source: DLI Claims Database

CompFact: Teachers and assaults
Teachers file indemnity claims for assault injuries in greater proportion than all occupations as a whole. Assaults, however, are not the most frequent cause of injuries for teachers, according to the number of indemnity claims filed. Assaults ranks fourth, behind falls, strains and struck-by-object injuries.
Assault claims as a percentage of indemnity claims, teachers compared to all occupations, 1995-2000
Elementary and secondary teachers Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Elementary school Secondary school Special education Other elementary and secondary All occupations Source: DLI Claims Database 5.0% 2.7 5.0 4.6 16.5 3.8 1.0

COMPACT

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February 2002