View Resource

EMPLOYER-BASED DISABILITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

by Bruce Flynn

The Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH), in partnership with the human resources and benefits consulting firm of Watson Wyatt Worldwide, has conducted an annual survey of corporate disability management practices since 1996. Data gathered over the three years of the Stay@Work survey provides a dynamic portrait of organizational disability management practices in the 1990s.

From this research, WBGH has learned that: *

  • the percentage of large companies with integrated disability management programs rose from 26% in 1996 to 42% in 1998

  • the direct costs of disability benefits averaged over 6% of payroll

  • employers saved 15-20% of disability costs by applying disability management "best practices".

  • job accommodation costs were less than 1% of payroll.'

Based on the responses of hundreds of surveyed employers, the following represent the "best practices" most commonly applied by disability management programs:
  1. Safety and injury prevention training

  2. Transitional/modified duty return to work policies

  3. Disability case management services

  4. Independent medical examination of injured/disabled employees

  5. Education of physicians regarding disability management and return to work

  6. Employee assistance program involvement

  7. Specific performance standards for service providers

  8. Use of company disability data for detection and prevention

  9. Union-management cooperative agreements/committees

By applying these disability management tools, employers not only reduced costs of their disability benefit programs but provided accommodations and return to work opportunities for thousands of employees with disabilities.

*Staying@Work-Increasing Shareholder Value Through Integrated Disability Management (Third annual survey report, 1999)

For More Information:

Bruce Flynn

Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH)
777 North Capitol Street, NE
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 408-9320
Fax: (202) 408-9332

Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Corporate Offices
Bethesda, MD
1-800-388-9868