New Hampshire Gov. Hassan Creates Workers’ Compensation Commission

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has issued an executive order creating a new commission to recommend ways to reduce the state’s workers’ compensation medical costs.

The new commission, called the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs, brings together experts to recommend reforms to help reduce workers’ comp costs that are a burden on New Hampshire businesses and ensure that injured workers have access to high-quality care, according to the announcement.

“Employers and workers have done their part to increase workplace safety, but New Hampshire has become one of the most expensive states in the nation for workers’ compensation, a burden on businesses across the state,” Gov. Hassan said in a statement Thursday.

“By bringing together business leaders and experts from insurance, health care and labor, the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs provides an opportunity for stakeholders to identify ways to reduce workers’ compensation medical costs and ensure that injured workers have access to quality care,” Gov. Hassan said.

“With these reforms, our businesses will be able to re-invest these dollars in growing their companies, creating new jobs and keeping our economy moving in the right direction.”

Tasked with making recommendations to reform New Hampshire’s workers’ comp system, the commission will review the data behind the state’s high workers’ comp costs; analyze efforts by other states to successfully reduce workers’ comp costs; review how other states ensure continued access to quality care for injured workers; and develop comprehensive reforms that will reduce costs and premiums and improve New Hampshire’s workers’ comp system while ensuring that injured workers have access to quality care.

According to the Oregon Workers Compensation Rate Ranking Study, New Hampshire rose from the 14th-most expensive state for workers’ comp coverage in the country in 2008 to the ninth-most expensive in 2012.

In addition, data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance shows that workers’ comp surgical procedures in New Hampshire are 83 percent more expensive than those in the region and more than twice as expensive as they are nationally.

“New Hampshire is among the most expensive states for workers’ compensation, an unnecessary disadvantage for businesses that operate here,” said New Hampshire Insurance Department Commissioner Roger Sevigny who will serve as chairman of the new commission.

Sevigny will be joined on the commission by New Hampshire Department of Labor Commissioner Jim Craig or a designee from the department, as well as a diverse group of experts representing workers, employers, insurance professionals and the health care sector.

“I look forward to working with the commission to improve our workers’ compensation system by making recommendations to reduce costs and premiums while ensuring that workers have access to quality care,” Sevigny said.

The commission’s final report is due to Gov. Hassan on Dec. 1, 2014.

Other members of the commission are as follows:

• Brian Allen, Vice President of Government Affairs at HELIOS (formerly Progressive Medical/PMSI)
• Donald F. Baldini, AVP and State Affairs Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance
• Pamela Bronson, Administrator at Access Sports Medicine & Orthopedics
• Paul W. Chant of Cooper Cargill Chant
• Tammy Denver, Director of Claims & Coverage Programs at NH Public Risk Management Exchange (Primex3)
• Edward Dudley, Executive Vice President/CFO of Catholic Medical Center
• Mark Erdody, Director of New England Claims for Cove Risk Services, LLC
• Marc Lacroix, New Hampshire Physical Therapy Association and Director of Specialty Services at Concord Hospital
• David Lang, President of Professional Firefighters of NH
• Mark Mackenzie, President of NH AFL-CIO
• Peter McNamara, President of NH Automobile Dealers Association
• Dr. Gregory Soghikian of New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center
• Ben Wilcox, President & General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort

Related Articles:
Data Show Rising Workers’ Comp Medical Costs in New Hampshire
N.H. Gov.: Businesses Need Relief From Rising Workers’ Comp Costs