Study Finds New Predictors of Workers’ Comp Outcomes in Iowa

January 23, 2015

A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) identified new predictors of worker outcomes that can help public officials, payors, and health care providers in Iowa improve the treatment and communication an injured worker receives after an injury ― leading to better outcomes.

The study, Predictors of Worker Outcomes in Iowa, found trust in the workplace to be one of the more important predictors that has not been examined before.

To describe the level of trust or mistrust in the work relationship, the study asked workers if they were concerned about being fired as a result of the injury. Thirty-nine percent reported that they were somewhat or very concerned that they would be fired or laid off after they were injured. Sixty percent reported no such concern.

The study also identified workers with specific comorbid medical conditions (existing simultaneously with but usually independent of the work injury) by asking whether the worker had received treatment for hypertension, diabetes, lung conditions, and heart problems in the year prior to the injury. Some of the study’s findings regarding this predictor are as follows:

  • Hypertension was the most common comorbid medical condition reported (24 percent).
  • Diabetes and lung conditions were reported by 9 and 7 percent of workers, respectively.
  • Sixty-six percent of injured Iowa workers reported having at least one comorbid medical condition or having smoked for 10 years or more; 22 percent of workers reported having more than one significant comorbid medical condition.

The study is based on telephone interviews with 412 injured workers in Iowa. The surveys were conducted in 2014 for injuries in 2011. All workers who were interviewed had received workers’ compensation benefits and experienced more than seven days of lost time from work. On average, the injuries for the workers surveyed had occurred about 2.9 years prior to the interviews

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI)

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