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

Workers’ compensation indemnity claimants’ age, 1990-2000
By Diep Phan, Research Assistant Research and Statistics

Workers’ compensation claimants’ age has an important impact on workers’ compensation system costs. Older workers, on average, incur higher costs per claim than do younger workers. For instance, the average total indemnity costs for 1995 claims was $5,180 for claimants aged 25 through 34 years, and $8,215 for claimants aged 55 through 64 years. This article presents the changes in the age distribution and other age characteristics of indemnity claimants in Minnesota from 1990 through 2000. The statistics show the average age of indemnity claimants has been increasing and the average injury age varies based on gender, occupation, industry and employment status.
Trends

As shown in Figure 1 (below), the average age of indemnity claimants has been steadily increasing. In 1990, the mean age of injured workers was 36.8 years; in 2000, this number was 39.8 years — an increase of three years during the decade. During the same period, the median age increased by 4.9 years — 1.9 years greater than the mean. As a result, from 1990 through 2000, the mean and median injury age got closer together such that in 2000, they were the same. This means during the decade, the age distribution has become less skewed to the left, i.e., it has become more evenly weighted between older and younger workers.
Figure 1
Mean and median age by gender and injury year

Age Mean age (in years) Total Men Women Median age (in years) Total Men Women

1990 36.8 36.4 37.6 34.9 34.3 36.1

Year of injury 1995 38.5 38.1 39.3 37.6 37.1 38.6

2000 39.8 39.4 40.8 39.8 39.3 40.9

Figures 2 and 3 (page 21) show the changing age composition of indemnity claimants, which suggested the increase in the average injury age came mostly from two sources: (1) the decrease in the number and proportion of claimants aged 15 through 24 and 25 through 34 years; (2) the increase in the number and proportion of claimants aged 45 through 54 years. In 1990, the 25 through 34 year age group made up the largest proportion of all indemnity claimants, more than double the proportion of the 45 through 54 year age group. By 2000, the situation had reversed: the 45 through 54 age group became the second largest group, surpassing the 25 through 34 year age group. This increasing trend in the average age of indemnity claimants follows the overall trend of an aging population. According to the 2000 Census, the median age of Minnesota’s population increased by three years between 1990 and 2000, from 32.4 to 35.4 years. During the same period, the 45 through 54 year age group grew by 55 percent and the 35 through 44 year age group grew by 23.7 percent. The 25 through 34 year age group, in contrast, declined by 13.7 percent. In the next decade, Minnesota’s population is projected to continue aging.1 Hence, this increasing trend in average injury age is expected to continue as well.
Gender

Women claimants, as a group, were older than men (Figure 1). During 1990 through 2000, the difference in mean injury age of men and women ranged from 1.2 to 1.4 years, and the difference in median ranged from 1.5 to 1.8
1

Population projections are from the Minnesota Planning Department. COMPACT 20

February 2002

Figure 2
Distributions of age groups by injury year

Age [1] 15 - 24 years 25 - 34 years 35 - 44 years 45 - 54 years 55 - 64 years 65 years or older

% of total claims each year 1990 1995 2000 15.6% 13.8 13.5 31.5 27.7 22.0 23.7 29.4 30.2 14.1 19.0 22.6 7.7 8.8 10.0 1.0 1.3 1.6

% change in number of claims 1990 - 1995 1995 - 2000 1990 - 2000 -32.9 -7.7 -38.1 -33.4 -25.2 -50.2 -6.0 -3.2 -9.0 1.9 12.0 14.2 -13.3 7.2 -7.0 -1.6 15.9 14.0

1. Based on cases with known values. Age not reported: 6.4% in 1990; 4.8% in 1995; and 3.7% in 2000.

Figure 3:
Distribution of age groups by injury year
35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 1990 1995 2000

years. The main reason is that in the general population, women often live longer and, thus, make up a larger percentage of the older age groups. In addition, women also make up a large percentage of injured professionals, managers and technicians, and clerical workers — the two occupational groups that, as shown below, have the highest mean injury age among all occupations. In 2000, 35 percent of all women claimants were professional, managerial and technical, and clerical workers, compared with only 9 percent for men.
Occupation

Figure 4 (page 22) shows that in 2000, injured laborers, agricultural and service workers were younger than workers in other occupations. This pattern can be partly explained by the fact that professional, technical and managerial, and clerical occupational groups have lower injury rates than other groups. Another possible explanation is the high positive correlation between age and job tenure for each occupational group. Unskilled and service jobs generally require less education and job experience, and, thus, are more likely to be held by younger workers. In contrast, occupations such as professionals, managers and technicians, and clerical workers are usually associated with more job experience and allow for longer job tenures, leading to the high average working and injury age of these groups.
Industry

Figure 5 (page 22) shows the average age of indemnity claimants varies greatly by industry. In 2000, injured workers in agriculture, retail and wholesale trade, and construction were younger than those in other industries. The difference between the industry with the lowest mean injury age — agriculture — and the industry with the highest mean injury age — mining — was almost 10 years. These differences in mean injury age among industries may be attributed to the differences in the average length of service in each industry. Workers in mining, public administration, transportation and manufacturing have longer average job tenures than workers in other industries.
Indemnity claimants, continued on page 22 COMPACT 21 February 2002

Indemnity claimants, continued from page 21

Employment status

The average age of indemnity claimants also varies by employment status. As shown in Figure 6 (below), full-time workers in 2000 were older than part-time and seasonal workers. This is consistent with the age characteristic of the general labor force. Full-time positions are usually held by older and more experienced employees. Part-time and seasonal positions, on the other hand, have a higher proportion of younger and less experienced employees, such as school-aged workers.
Figure 4
Mean age by occupation, injury year 2000
44 42 40 39.5 35.9 36.5 40.1 40.4 40.5 40.8 41.8 42.0 42.1

Years

38 36 34 32 30

Transportation workers

Sales

Professional, manager & technician

Agricultural workers

Operators

Others

Laborers

Crafts

Figure 5
Mean age by industry, injury year 2000
46 44 42 40 39.2 37.9 35.0 38.0 40.6 40.6 41.1 41.5 41.8 44.5

Years

38 36 34 32 30 Agriculture Retail ConstructionWholesale [1] Includes communication and public utilities [2] Finance, insurance, and real estate Manuf ServicesTransportation Public F.I.R.E [2] [1] administration Mining

Figure 6
42 40 38 Mean age by employment status, injury year 2000 40.1 38.9

Years

36 34 32 30

35.6

2000

Seasonal

Part-time

Full-time

COMPACT

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February 2002

Clerical workers

Service workers