Wyoming: New Computer System Blamed for Workers Compensation Problems

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Workers Comp tries to speed up payments

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state is trying to speed up workers' compensation payments to health care providers.

R. Peter Simpson, acting administrator of the state workers' compensation division, said he has been trying for the past two weeks to evaluate the volume of bills per day and to identify inefficiencies created by a new computer system.

"We have received complaints, and I am aware of it and we are trying to develop a plan to deal with that," Simpson said.

The state installed a new computer system last August that enables the agency to collect more information to better manage the workers' compensation system. Complaints started coming in a couple of months ago and are from various health care providers who treat injured workers, Simpson said.

"Some of it is the learning curve," he said.

Meanwhile, two Safeway pharmacies in Casper quit filling new workers' compensation prescriptions about a year ago because of rejected claims for payment resulting in losses of thousands of dollars, spokesmen said.

However, the Safeway pharmacy in the Cole Center in Cheyenne continues to accept workers' compensation prescriptions, a spokesman said.

The decision is left to the individual discretion of each Safeway pharmacy manager, the pharmacists said. Dox Carr, staff pharmacist at the Wyoming Boulevard Safeway in Casper, said Tuesday that at the beginning of 1999 the workers' compensation division refused to pay a number of claims totaling more than $2,000.

Carr said he called an official in the Denver Safeway Office who said the store could quit handling the claims if that was the case.

"What happens, is the employer contests it and it gets rejected and we hear about the rejection six months after it happens and by that time you can't even find the employee to get the money," Carr said.

However, he said the pharmacy still handles established workers' compensation claims.

With new claims, the pharmacist tells the worker he or she can pay for the prescription then submit the claim. Otherwise the pharmacy won't handle new claims, he said.

But Jeff Stroh, spokesman for the Safeway office in Denver, said there has been some "misperception" about the company's position.

"It was just a miscommunication between a couple of pharmacists," Stroh said.

"We are welcoming all workers' compensation claims," Stroh said. He said the Safeway pharmacist director in Denver would call both Safeway pharmacies in Casper to straighten out the misunderstanding.

"We apologize if anyone was inconvenienced because of the misunderstanding," Stroh said.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 09, 2000

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