On a scale of A to F, Wisconsin scored a B on a list of 2011 State report cards released by the Work Loss Date Institute (WLDI). For the last ten years , the Institute has tracked trends and gives each of the states a grade and a tier ranking based on their performance.
The State report cards are based on data from OSHA forms 300 and 200, on which employers report incidents of injury and illnesses. The OSHA reports form the basis for state by state rating of workers’ compensation performance, which help employers, insurance carriers, State governments, and workers’ compensation departments to assess and analyze their own programs.
The State report cards emphasize one primary measure of outcome: whether workers get better and go back to work. One shortcoming of the report is that it does not track medical costs. Five different outcomes are measured and compared among the states for each year.
- Incidents rates;
- Cases missing work;
- Median disability durations;
- Delayed recovery rate; and
- A key condition, or Low back strain
With over ten years of data, the WLDI has enough information over a long enough time frame to differentiate states adequately. The best performing states were Utah, Arkansas, and Minnesota (graded A). The worst: Kentucky and New York, with a grade of F. Wisconsin ranks in the middle tier, graded a B. States surrounding Wisconsin include Iowa with a B, Minnesota with an A, Michigan with a B, and Illinois with D. State ranking can be viewed here.
Note: The study is limited in that it does not grade by benefit level or by the difficulty or ease of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. On this criteria Wisconsin ranks fairly high. It provides benefits for injuries and illnesses using a “more probably than not” medical causation standard.. It also provides for mental injuries and does not deny benefits for injuries involving alcohol or drug use, both of which are denied in many states.
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