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AMA – Startling Workers Comp Return To Work Statistic


AMA Early Return To Work Saves Workers Comp Funds

I was attending a lunch conference on Workers Compensation Return to Work earlier this week. The presenter provided this statistic from the AMA  (American Medical Association). The stat was based on the longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they will ever return to work.

Doctor AMA talking to her recovered patient
Wikimedia Commons – National Cancer Institute

The percentage of workers that return to work after being out of work for:

  • Less than 8 weeks – 50%
  • After 26 weeks – 18%

There was also a study performed in the 1980s and the 1990s that said an employee who is out of work for more than six months will return to work only 50% of the time. I performed a statistical analysis of the same type on a group of public sector files. The most startling statistic was that only a very small percentage of employees were out of work for more than one year. I think the number was 7%.

Return to work is becoming more of a financial defense strategy for companies. Having a return-to-work program is critical to reducing Workers Compensation costs. It is one of the easier methods to reduce Workers Comp payouts.

There are a few good methods for establishing and facilitating a Return to Work program. I will cover them in the next post along with the reasons for the low % of return to work after such a short time off work.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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