The aim of the study was to determine if prolonged times taken to notify, file, adjudicate, and start wage replacement for workers’ compensation claims are associated with poorer return-to-work (RTW) outcomes.
Using 71,607 claims lodged 2007 to 2012, logistic regression determined associations between time to claim filing, adjudication, and payment and (1) socio-demographic/economic, occupational, and injury-related factors; and (2) 52 weeks of wage replacement (WR).
Prolonged times for all processing steps were associated with increased odds of reaching 52 weeks of WR. Prolonged times in more than one step increased the odds of a long-term claim. Being female was the only variable consistently associated with each prolonged processing time.
The predictive ability of prolonged times in claim lodgement and processing and compensation payments demonstrate that shorter claims management and adjudication times could improve RTW outcomes.
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Drs Cocker, Sim, Kelsall, and Smith); Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Canada (Dr Smith); Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (Dr Smith).
Address correspondence to: Fiona Cocker, PhD, Hobart Clinical School, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia (Fiona.Cocker@utas.edu.au).
Funding: WorkSafe Victoria.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.