Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Chamber Creates Compensation Defense Kit

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Chamber Creates Compensation Defense Kit

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

A market basket of actions employers can take as their own brand of workers compensation reform has been compiled by the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce Industry.

"It's time for us to get active in this, beyond just trying to get legislation passed," said Mike Seney, director of the state chamber's Manufacturers' and Member Services Department.

The "Workers Compensation Defense Kit" is more than just a helpful instruction manual. The chamber actually gathered the services of private firms to offer employee screening, safety training, a managed health care program and a Fraud Information Network.

Services are offered at budget rates to chamber members, and even to nonmembers who use them in association with the Workers Compensation Defense Kit. "Screening an employee before putting him or her to work just makes sense these days, but must be done very carefully," said a chamber news release. "By following a specific hiring sequence and checking an employee's safety record, driving history, criminal history or verifying a degree, employers can make a better hiring decision."

The chamber engaged the Industrial Foundation of America to perform job safety checks on individuals who have been given a conditional offer of employment. The program follows guidelines of the Americans With Disabilities Act and other laws.

Through the state chamber, employers could join the foundation and pay as the services are used, and the annual $125 fee would be waived.

The defense kit also gives suggested guidelines for the steps involved in interviewing and hiring people. Berkley Risk Management, safety and loss control consultants, has offered services at a discount to help employers develop safety training and consultation programs.

The firm is a licensed workers compensation service company that provides administrative services to self-insured employers and those wanting to reduce accidents. A Fraud Information Network has been created by the chamber to process reports of alleged claim fraud and screen those reports for further employer action needed.

"After several meetings with the Attorney General's Office and in recognition of their need for adequate funding and staffing, it is clear the core problem is the staggering cost of information gathering and processing," said the literature in the kit.

"Specifically, we need more manpower, software, hardware and time to review the alleged reports of workers compensation fraud."

Subscribers to the network will pay an annual membership fee of $100, or $50 for state chamber members. The network will take complaints and develop accurate claims reporting by telephone, mail data forms to employers and report statistics to participating network members.

Next, the network will enter data from the claim forms in a case management system and prioritize the claims. …

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