Trends and Perspectives From Industry Bloggers

Workers' Compensation Claims and Cost |
Written by Dell Dorn

by Safety National


At the 24th Annual National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference, some of the workers’ compensation industry’s most-prominent bloggers gathered to debate industry trends.

The panel consisted of:

  • Moderator: Mark Walls, Vice President Communications & Strategic Analysis, Safety National
  • David DePaolo, J.D., Founder, President and CEO,; Author, DePaolo’s Work Comp World blog
  • Joseph Paduda, Principal, Health Strategy Associates; Author, Managed Care Matters blog
  • Rebecca Shafer, J.D., President, Amaxx Risk Solutions Inc., Author, blog
  • Robert Wilson, President and CEO,; Author, From Bob’s Cluttered Desk blog


Is workers’ compensation still that grand bargain between employers and workers? ProPublica, OSHA and other critics have been criticizing the system.

The general consensus was best summarized by DePaolo, “Business and labor both want stability and, fundamentally, that’s what the system helps to do.”


There are significant differences in benefits state-by-state. Is that a good thing and is the government going to change that at some point?

While several of the panelists agreed that the government could become involved, Paduda pointed out, ”I haven’t seen any evidence that the government is concerned with touching workers’ compensation. They have a long list of other items to address.”


We are starting to see attempts at developing alternatives to the traditional workers’ compensation. Is this the answer?

There were many viewpoints on this question and not a clear consensus. Perhaps DePaolo summed it up best, “This movement is the result of absolute frustration by the business community.”


Where do you see this industry in 10 years?

Paduda: I think work comp will be one-third smaller than it is today and saddled with legacy claimants that won’t have job to go back to due to automation or offshoring.

Shafer: I think we will involve doctors much more, with more qualified providers involved much sooner.

Wilson: I agree with both of these statements, especially with that automation will alter the workforce in many ways. I think it will also change the type of claims we have. I also think we will see many different ways that medical devices speed information and recovery like telehealth.

DePaolo: I think we are on the cusp of a very exciting time in our industry. There is no other system that has the ability to manage medical and indemnity like workers’ compensation. Currently, groups are lobbying to create a new class of employer called “independent contractors” that could lead to a whole new series of insurance products and we are the only ones who know how to do that. Workers’ comp may shrink, but we’ll have an entire new class of worker.

Walls: We are going to see a blurring of the lines between the healthcare and workers’ compensation systems. Employers are looking at 24-hour models, pharmacy spend, etc. The patient is a person. You can’t treat an injury in a bubble and not pay attention to the other health items involved. The industry will have to evolve because of this.


This article was originally published by Safety National. You can see the original article here:

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About the Author

Dell Dorn

Dell Dorn is the founder of DORN Companies. He started DORN in 1998 to help employers save money on workers' compensation claims and reduce OSHA recordables. Today, DORN customers realize the immense cost of employee pain and the enormous impact our service has on employee morale and their bottom line.
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