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Analysis of Ethnic Disparities in Workers' Compensation Claims Using Data Linkage

Friedman, Lee S. PhD; Ruestow, Peter MSc; Forst, Linda MD, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 10 - p 1246–1252
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825a34d1

Objective: The overall goal of this research project was to assess ethnic disparities in monetary compensation among construction workers injured on the job through the linkage of medical records and workers' compensation data.

Methods: Probabilistic linkage of medical records with workers' compensation claim data.

Results: In the final multivariable robust regression model, compensation was $5824 higher (P = 0.030; 95% confidence interval: 551 to 11,097) for white non-Hispanic workers than for other ethnic groups when controlling for injury severity, affected body region, type of injury, average weekly wage, weeks of temporary total disability, percent permanent partial disability, death, or attorney use.

Conclusions: The analysis indicates that white non-Hispanic construction workers are awarded higher monetary settlements despite the observation that for specific injuries the mean temporary total disability and permanent partial disability were equivalent to or lower than those in Hispanic and black construction workers.

From the School of Public Health (Drs Friedman and Forst and Mr Ruestow), Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago; and The Social Policy Research Institute (Dr Friedman), Skokie, IL.

Address correspondence to: Lee S. Friedman, PhD, The Social Policy Research Institute, 4001 Emerson, Skokie, IL 60076 (

Disclosure: None of the authors have any conflicts of interest that may be relevant to the submitted work.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine