Cover: Issues and Performance in the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation System

Issues and Performance in the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation System

Published Mar 15, 2008

by Michael D. Greenberg, Amelia Haviland


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Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system was the subject of legislative changes in the 1990s and again in 2004 and 2006, changes that were partly a response to rising workers’ compensation costs over the preceding 30 years. In this paper, Greenberg and Haviland examine the performance of the commonwealth’s workers’ compensation system and the issues it faces, focusing particularly on benefits and compensation, workplace safety, medical care, and dispute resolution. The authors review the published research and the available data on workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, and they supplement this review with qualitative interviews with a range of stakeholder groups in the state. Greenberg and Haviland find generally that Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system performs reasonably well relative to other states, but they note that the commonwealth may not be as strong in its performance on some safety measures. Greenberg and Haviland also note that Pennsylvania, like the nation as a whole, will continue to face the challenge of rising health care costs. The authors conclude with a series of recommendations for policymakers, emphasizing the importance of collecting more and better data on the performance of the workers’ compensation system, to inform the debate over future reforms and initiatives.

The research described in this report was conducted within the RAND Center for Health and Safety in the Workplace(CHSW) with a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This report is part of the RAND occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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