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Significant Decreasing Trend in Back Injuries in a Multiemployer Environment

A Follow-Up Study

Leung, Nina, PhD, MPH; Yuspeh, Larry, BA; Kalia, Nimisha, MD, MPH, MBA; Lavin, Robert, MD, MS; Tsourmas, Nicholas, MD; Bernacki, Edward, MD, MPH; Tao, Xuguang Grant, MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 5 - p e200–e205
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001568
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Background: A significant decrease in back injury claims was observed in a single employer.

Objective: The aim of this study was to validate whether back injury claims are decreasing in a multiemployer environment within a non-monopolistic state and quantify the risk of delayed return-to-work and adverse cost of injured workers with back injuries.

Methods: Thirty-six thousand four hundred sixty-three claims from 1998 to 2015 were analyzed with descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic and Cox-Proportional Hazards models.

Results: Back injury claims decreased three-fold (5.02 to 1.60 per 1000 employees) and were more likely to have claim costs over $100,000 (odds ratio = 2.41) and delayed return-to-work (hazard ratio = 1.16).

Conclusion: Back injury claims are decreasing in a multiemployer environment within a non-monopolistic state.

Department of Population Health, Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Drs Bernacki, Leung, Tsourmas); Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, Instructor in Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – Department of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Mr Yuspeh); Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Drs Kalia, Tao); Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Lavin).

Address correspondence to: Xuguang Grant Tao, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 2024 E Monument St, Suite 1–300, Baltimore, MD 21205 (Xtao1@jhmi.edu).

This paper is to validate hypotheses that the decreasing trend of back injuries is happening in a multiemployer environment and a non-monopolistic state by using a database with over 20,000 workers’ compensation insurance policyholders and to quantify the impact of back injuries on WC cost and delayed return-to-work so that the benefit of decreasing trend in back injury can be estimated.

There are no conflicts of interest or external sources of funding for this work.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine