Speaking to a panel of industry leaders at the California Workers’ Compensation Institute’s annual meeting last month, Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) director Christine Baker painted a rosy picture of regulation and reform. California’s workers’ comp system needs to be fixed – Baker acknowledged this. And she’s optimistic about making that happen. Her secret sauce? Data, data, data.
In her remarks, Baker traced a lineage of data-driven reform back to 2012 and Senate Bill 863, emphasizing the state’s attempts to reduce tax costs and stamp out fraud. And she certainly has a few feathers in her cap – a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau report late last year found that the state saves over $1 Billion annually thanks to that landmark piece of legislative reform.
More recently, last year’s Senate Bill 1160 sought to trim some of the remaining inefficiencies from the workers’ comp system, introducing timely billing requirements, reducing the need for utilization review, and placing major restrictions on liens. Baker credits data as the driving force behind these reforms, and as the chief barometer by which their success will be measured. She spoke of up-to-the-minute analysis of data and the ease with which the DIR will now be able to suss out non-compliant behavior and take action.
To all of the above, we say: Hurrah! DaisyBill has long advocated for the use of data in affecting change, and Baker’s hard, analytical approach will serve the DIR well if they hope to clean up the cumbersome maze of regulations and restrictions that plague California workers’ comp billing.
What’s more, we’ve already seen this approach in action – a routine conversation with the Department of Workers’ Compensation Audit Unit last month turned into a detailed analysis of the Audit Complaints submitted and tracked in DaisyBill. The meeting culminated with a discussion of possible changes to the workers’ comp system that could encourage claims administrators to adopt consistently compliant behavior – we’ll have more news on that front very soon.
All signs indicate that this is just the beginning. With granular data from over 2 million workers’ comp bills, including average days to payment and EOR compliance, we’re looking forward to many more conversations with the state in the months and years ahead.