Tennessee is currently embroiled in worker’s compensation negotiations. The state has higher costs for businesses to acquire worker’s compensation coverage than many other nearby states, and the companies are suggesting a rate cut. Doctors in the state suggest that cutting rates that businesses must pay will trickle down to less money earned in the medical community, which already operates on thin margins. According to statistics:
“In Tennessee, 67 percent of claims money now goes to pay medical costs such as payments to doctors and hospitals. The rest goes to make lump sum or other payments to injured workers whose ability to earn a regular paycheck is damaged by their injuries.” – The Tennessean
This is a difficult topic that seeks to balance as low of rates as possible for businesses so that they can continue offering the best possible worker’s comp for their employees. Of course if those rates are cut too far then there will be no doctors around to handle the comp cases when they come to fruition.
“Anytime you start talking about making cuts in reimbursements, particularly for those physicians who don’t see a huge number of injured workers, there’s an incentive for them to say, ‘That’s it. I’m out of this,’ ” said Gary Zelizer, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Medical Association.”
The state is currently assessing options that other states have used to bridge the gap, but have not yet come to any definitive conclusions. The bill is currently operating under a 60 stay but will need to be resolved in the very near future in order to properly cover employees in 2012-2013.