city controller ron galperin
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Photo via lacontroller.org

City Controller Ron Galperin said Wednesday that Los Angeles should explore becoming the first major city to integrate workers’ compensation healthcare and group health insurance because it could produce millions of dollars in savings.

“This common-sense reform would help the city get a handle on healthcare costs while giving injured employees quicker access to care. Consolidation is a win-win solution for everyone,” said Galperin, who outlined his findings in a report. “At a time when quality healthcare can’t be taken for granted, innovative reforms like this will allow us to continue caring for employees while saving money.”

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, the city budgeted $716.1 million for employee benefits for more than 47,000 workers, while budgeting $159 million for workers’ compensation and $100 million separately for workers’ comp coverage for Department of Water and Power staff.

Although Galperin’s report did not give an exact estimate, it did say the consolidation could result in “many millions of dollars” in savings. The report also said that “while merging the systems is uncommon, it is legally allowed. My office found one such merger, in New York.”

Galperin also recommended exploring the consolidation of some of the city’s 19 different employee health benefit plans, expanding wellness programs, and appointing a chief medical officer to oversee all city health programs.

–City News Service

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