N.H. Workers’ Comp Commission Holds Its 1st Meeting

September 29, 2014

New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny last Friday chaired the first meeting of the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs.

The commission was created by Gov. Maggie Hassan earlier this month in response to the insurance department’s announcement that workers’ comp medical fees in New Hampshire are significantly higher than those in other states.

The commission has been asked to review state data, analyze other states’ efforts to lower workers’ comp costs, and develop recommendations to reduce costs and premiums while ensuring that injured workers have access to quality care.

The commission’s final report to Governor Hassan is due Dec. 1.

Commissioner Sevigny heads the commission, which consists of Brian Allen of HELIOS; Donald Baldini of Liberty Mutual Insurance; Pamela Bronson of Access Sports Medicine & Orthopedics; Paul Chant of Cooper Cargill Chant; Tammy Denver of N.H. Public Risk Management Exchange; Edward Dudley of Catholic Medical Center; Mark Erdody of Cove Risk Services; Marc Lacroix of the N.H. Physical Therapy Association and Concord Hospital; David Lang of the Professional Firefighters of N.H.; Mark Mackenzie of the N.H. AFL-CIO; Peter McNamara of the N.H. Automobile Dealers Association; Dr. Gregory Soghikian of N.H. Orthopaedic Center; and Ben Wilcox of Cranmore Mountain Resort.

Gov. Hassan thanked members of the commission at the start of the meeting. “We are going through a tremendous change in health care … and one of the things we really looked at is that from the state’s perspective, we pay significantly more in workers’ compensation costs,” she said.

“That’s money that gets spent that could, in theory, be spent on other things that we care about. What we’re looking for is to understand what’s driving costs. I am really looking forward to following your work,” Gov. Hassan said.

New Hampshire went from being listed as the 14th most expensive state for workers’ comp in the country in 2008 to the 9th most expensive in 2012, according to the Oregon Workers Compensation Rate Ranking Study.

Deb Stone, the insurance department’s director of financial regulation, told commission members that in New Hampshire, almost three-fourths of the costs of workers’ comp claim dollars are paid out for medical costs, as opposed to 60 percent nationwide.

“Our medical costs are high and rising,” she said.

Source: The New Hampshire Insurance Department

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