City reduces workers' comp costs

Costa Mesa city officials this week announced the money-saving results of their three-year effort to reduce workers' compensation medical costs.

In fiscal year 2009-10, the city spent about $1.75 million on claims. The City Council approved a reform effort in 2011, and by 2012-13, the number was cut to about $980,000, officials said.

The 2011 workers' compensation review issued 14 recommendations, since implemented by the city's Human Resources Division, that "focused on improvements in processing claims, technology and data tracking, and training and education," according to a city news release.

The reforms include retaining a third party for the workers' compensation program, handling minor injuries such as first-aid incidents to avoid claims, and bringing back injured employees into modified or light-duty assignments, city officials said.

"This is local government at its best," city CEO Tom Hatch said in a prepared statement. "We are now operating a more efficient workers' compensation program for our employees and saving money for taxpayers. The City Council's vision to complete the review and the Human Resources Division's efforts to implement the recommendations has led to this significant, hard-earned achievement."

— Bradley Zint

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