Iowa Tops Report Card on Workers’ Compensation Systems

workerscompgradeIn July, the Work Loss Data Institute (WLDI) released its much-anticipated 2009 State Report Card for Workers’ Comp, using the most current data available at the time. The report card helps employers, insurers, state governments and consultants answer the questions “Who is doing well and why?”

The good news is that Iowa was ranked #1 in the nation, getting an A-plus grade for its workers’ compensation system. This is more proof that we should not make radical changes to the state’s current workers comp laws, including the controversial employee doctor shopping (choice of doctor) bill.

WLDI’s State Report Cards are based on data from OSHA Form 300’s and 200’s, which cover all OSHA recordable injuries and illnesses and provide the basis for rating state-by-state workers’ compensation performance. The 2009 release adds four more years worth of data (2003-2006) to the rankings, which makes for a total of seven years of data since it includes statistics collected in the last publication, which was released in 2004.

Similar to past releases of this report, the 2009 State Report Cards provide five different outcome measures compared among the states for each year:

  1. Incidence Rates,
  2. Cases Missing Work,
  3. Median Disability Durations,
  4. Delayed Recovery Rate; and
  5. Key Conditions: Low Back Strain.

An essential requirement for production of this report was the proprietary crosswalk program that has been developed by WLDI, which converts OSHA-reported data into an ICD9 code format. More details on the methodology used are located at

Iowa performed the best of all the states for 2006 and Minnesota came in a close second. Both states received a grade of “A+” based on an average of their 2006 scores in the five categories above. Illinois came in last, with Wyoming, Rhode Island and New York very close to the bottom. In total, nine of the 43 states received a grade of “F” in 2006. A summary of each grade for all states is shown on a U.S. Map Showing Grades by State, located at

The Work Loss Data Institute is an independent database development company focused on workplace health and productivity based in Encinitas, California. The Official Disability Guidelines product line provides evidence-based medical treatment and disability duration guidelines to improve as well as benchmark outcomes in workers’ comp and non-occupational disability. ODG is available in Web-based, textbook and Systems Integration formats, used in all 50 states and worldwide. For more information, visit or contact Work Loss Data Institute at 800-488-5548.