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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Health Care Legislation that Affects Texas Business: Workers Compensation Reform Heats Up
01/10/2005

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Workers’ compensation promises to be a high-profile issue during the upcoming Texas legislative session. Spiraling medical costs for injured employees impact Texas businesses and health care providers. A recent study found that Texas has the nation’s highest average cost for workers’ compensation claims at $2,931.

That’s why the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Business all support workers’ compensation reform.

Behind the problem is an outdated, subjective claims review process that impedes health care providers and insurance companies needing predictable cost structures to make financial plans for their organizations. Also to blame is a faulty oversight system that does a poor job of weeding out fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. As a result, we’ve seen a decline in the number of businesses participating in the workers’ compensation system and fewer health care providers willing to accept workers’ compensation patients.

To address these problems, we must clarify the role of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission. One solution is to allow health care and insurance providers to negotiate their own rates. In theory, this would contain costs, speed delivery of care to injured workers and improve the environment for everyone – Texas workers, their employers and the health care providers we all depend on.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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