Mayor Lightfoot Announces Reforms to Workers' Compensation Program
Following independent audit, City to reform Workers’ Compensation program and improve services to injured employees
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced sweeping reforms to the City of Chicago’s workers’ compensation program, designed to improve services for injured workers and to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the administration of claims. The reforms follow the completion of an independent audit of the program. The audit revealed that the City’s workers’ compensation program had widespread deficiencies, driven by the lack of training for administrators, fraud controls, and clear policies needed to enforce consistency in investigations and claim administration.
As recommended by the audit, Mayor Lightfoot has directed the City to partner with a third party to implement changes to improve claim handling and outcomes for claimants; introduce controls and oversight that do not currently exist; and ensure a timelier response and better service for employees. The full, unredacted audit was released today.
“The findings of this audit revealed what we already suspected: that the City’s workers’ compensation program was undermanaged and lacked proper protocols--which poses a disservice to our injured city employees as well as taxpayers," said Mayor Lightfoot. “Today, we are taking action to make this program more accountable and are making changes to bring the program in line with best practices, just like other municipalities across the nation have done."
To professionalize the workers’ compensation program, the City will partner with Gallagher Bassett, a leading international public sector claims administrator as well as the Gallagher Global Brokerage Risk Program Administrators team to best serve the worker’s compensation needs of the City. Gallagher Bassett’s team of experienced claims adjusters will work with the City to bring forward the following reforms:
- Implement claim handling practices and procedures aligned with best practices
- Adopt new technology systems to expedite claims review and control medical costs and improve outcomes for injured employees
- Create a process for handling legacy claims with a goal of clearing the backlog
- Implement a comprehensive “return to work” program to increase closure rates