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May 22, 2017

Research group helping Division of Workers’ Compensation streamline system

The Texas Workers' Compensation Research and Evaluation GroupThe Texas Workers’ Compensation Research and Evaluation Group has released its 2017 research agenda, a blueprint for its efforts to provide critical data for decision-makers in the Texas workers’ compensation system.

The research group requests suggestions for research topics from elected officials, stakeholders, and the public, then evaluates them based on the needs of stakeholder groups and legislative committees, as well as the resources needed to carry out the research.

Preliminary projects for the Fiscal Year 2017 Research Agenda include:

  • Completion of the 11th edition of the Workers’ Compensation Health Care Network Report Card.
  • Evaluation of use and cost patterns of compound drugs.
  • Analysis of adequacy of workers compensation income benefits.
  • An update on the 2003 impact of work-hardening/work conditioning programs. These are rehabilitation programs that help employees restore their physical abilities and get back to work.

The research group was under the Texas Department of Insurance, but became part of TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) in January, enhancing DWC’s efforts to make the Texas workers’ compensation system more efficient, transparent, and proactive.

“Good data is essential in our decision making to improve the workers’ compensation system,” said Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Ryan Brannan. “We’re already a model for other states, and the work of the research group has always been an important part of our efforts. We’ll continue to leverage their expertise, and take things up a notch wherever we can.”

Brannan says the research priorities will mirror those of DWC, with a focus on getting benefits to injured employees, monitoring insurance rates, and focusing on issues that affect the cost, quality, and effectiveness of the Texas workers’ compensation system. The group includes four researchers in Austin:

Soon-Yong Choi is an economist whose research focuses on medical cost and utilization, effects of the pharmacy closed formulary, access to medical care, treatment guidelines, and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. He has a Ph.D. in economics with a concentration in market competition and regulation from the University of Texas at Austin.

Botao Shi is a research specialist who has managed eight of the annual TDI Workers’ Compensation Network Report Cards, which compare cost, utilization, and outcome measures between network and non-network claims. Shi has experience in statistical data analysis, project management and reporting, and database management. Shi has a master of science in statistics from the University of Arkansas.

Conrado Garza is a research specialist with a bachelor of science and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

D.C. Campbell has nearly 20 years of workers’ compensation experience. He has researched and published reports on medical costs, pharmaceutical utilization trends, and patterns of employer participation in the workers’ compensation system. Campbell has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, and a master’s degree in economics. 

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Last updated: 7/16/2018