Firing Fear Among New Predictors of Workers’ Comp Outcomes: WCRI

Workers’ compensation researchers have identified anxiety over being fired and other new predictors of worker outcomes that they say can help public officials, payors and health care providers improve the treatment and communication an injured worker receives after an injury – leading to better outcomes.

“Better information about the predictors of poorer worker outcomes may allow payors and doctors to better target health care and return-to-work interventions to those most at risk,” said Dr. Richard Victor, executive director of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), which conducted eight state-specific studies on the issue of predictors.

The studies, Predictors of Worker Outcomes, 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 studies’ interviewers asked workers if they were concerned about being fired as a result of the injury. WCRI released the following findings from the studies regarding this predictor:

The studies also identified workers with specific comorbid medical conditions (existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition) by asking whether the worker had received treatment for hypertension, diabetes and heart problems. The medical condition may have been present at the time of the injury or may have manifested during the recovery period. Among those findings:

The studies are based on telephone interviews with 3,200 injured workers across eight states. The eight states are Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The studies interviewed workers who suffered a workplace injury in 2010 and received workers’ compensation income benefits. The surveys were conducted during February through June 2013—on average, about three years after these workers sustained their injuries.

The WCRI is a not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

Source: WCRI at