COMPACT

The Newsletter for Workers’ Compensation Professionals November 2001

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

Inside ...
Articles
Rehab provider conduct and accountability outcomes ........................ 5 Interest rate update ............................. 5 Update: Danny’s Trannys vs. State of Minnesota ........................................ 5 Update: Roy vs. Gas Supply Inc. (WCCA, Aug. 6, 2001) ........................... 6 Customers happy with hotline service ...... 7 Work comp family farm coverage ............. 8 Minnesota work comp insurance costs continue decline ................................... 9 Latest data shows slight increase in indemnity costs ................................. 10 Exposure-related occupational disease ..... 13

Tables
Customer Assistance hotline survey ......... 7 Family farm coverage ............................ 8 Average indemnity and medical costs of insured claims, policy years 1984-1998, adjusted for wage growth ...................... 11 Average indemnity cost of indemnity claims, 1984-2000, adjusted for wage growth: Insurance data vs. DLI data ...... 12 Number and percentage of occupational disease indemnity claims, 1996-1999 ....... 13

Forms
Subscription renewal ............................. 4 Publications order form .......................... 15 ‘Rule 101’ order form ............................. 17

Summaries of decisions
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals ........................................... D-1 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. Minn. Supreme Court decisions................ D-21

Customers happy with hotline service
By Vicki Chouinard, Research Analyst Research and Statistics

In the August edition of COMPACT, the Department of Labor and Industry, Customer Assistance (CA) unit, reported the results of its mediation/arbitration approach to workers’ compensation dispute-resolution. In addition to resolving disputes, one of the ways CA prevents disputes is by encouraging phone calls, early in the process, to the department’s Workers’ Compensation “hotline.” A call to the hotline will connect the caller to an experienced workers’ compensation specialist who can provide instant and accurate information and assistance. The hotline service is well used – receiving more than 50,000 calls a year — but, until now, the department hadn’t measured the caller’s level of satisfaction with the service. During May and June, about 320 one-page surveys were mailed to injured workers who called the hotline. More than sixty percent were returned completed. Survey participants overwhelmingly reported they received timely, courteous, fair, understandable and knowledgeable assistance from CA staff members. Injured workers were asked to rate their agreement with several statements reflective of good service. Agreement choices ranged from strongly disagree (a ranking of 1) to strongly agree (a ranking of 5). Average scores for each question asked are shown below. Callers answered “agree” to “strongly agree” when asked about the department providing good service in each category. An additional question asked whether the injured employee felt his or her call had been successful. Only five percent of the survey respondents said they did not get the service

they sought from the telephone contact. Fifteen percent of the callers reported receiving at least part of what they desired from the call and an impressive 80 percent said “I got the service I needed” from the Customer Assistance staff members. Approximately two-thirds of the participants completed the question asking them to rank the most important area for service improvement. The priority improvement areas were telephone wait time and ease of using the telephone system. (A new department phone system has recently been installed; its effect has yet to be measured.) The most frequently selected nonphone improvement area was provision of understandable answers. A few respondents wished for system-wide changes that might tilt results more in favor of injured employees — or what they described as an improvement in fairness. Many people took the extra step of thanking individual state employees for courteous, fair, prompt and respectful service. This survey was limited to injured workers; CA also intends to survey its other stakeholders, notably insurers, employers, health care providers, qualified rehabilitation consultants and attorneys. If you have questions about survey details, call Keith Keesling at (651) 284-5450. If you, your associates or those you serve have questions about Minnesota workers’ compensation, call the department’s hotline — (651) 284-5032 in the Twin Cities metro area; 1-800-342-5354 in Greater Minnesota.

COMPACT

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November 2001