September 13, 2012

Maragos: Rampant Injury Claims

May Have Cost Taxpayers $13M

One-In-Eight Employees File Workers’ Compensation Claims

Mineola, NY: Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his workers’ compensation study which found a high rate of job related injury claims filed by County workers, potentially resulting in over $13 million in higher costs since 2010. The number of claims for job related injuries has steadily climbed from one-in-forty County employees per year in 2002 to one-in-eight employees, on average, by 2011. This current claims ratio may imply a lack of effective management of County workers’ compensation claims or possible fraud and abuse.

"The study results are startling and demand immediate action to control the rising County workers’ compensation costs,” Comptroller Maragos said. “With 1 in 8 employees, on average, filing injury claims annually, there appears to be fraud and abuse in the system that needs to be weeded out,” Comptroller Maragos emphasized. “Suspected cases of fraud must be investigated, and where evidence exists, turned over to the DA for prosecution and recovery of funds.”

The Comptroller’s Office recommended that immediate steps be taken to more effectively manage workers’ compensation claim costs, including:

1.   Finding a more effective third party administrator for the County’s workers’ compensation claims;

2.   Conducting an in-depth analysis of claims submitted by each department, and multiple claims submitted by the same individuals;

3.   Investigating suspected fraudulent claims; and

4.   Establishing an “Occupational Safety Task Force” to correct work place hazards that may have contributed to the high level of claims.

"Keeping the County’s employees safe should be our number one priority,” Comptroller Maragos said. “It is clear from our analysis that more may need to be done to ensure workplace safety and reduce injury claims. The costs go beyond the direct expense for workers’ compensation, and include the loss of employee productivity and overtime expenses.”

PDF File Nassau County Workers' Compensation Program Study