Relationship of Work Injury Severity to Family Member Hospitalization

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BackgroundWorking while under stress due to a family health event may result in injuries of greater severity. Work leave might mitigate such consequences.Data and MethodsWorkers' compensation data for 33,817injured workers and inpatient medical data for 76,077 members of their families were extracted from the 2002—2005 Thomson Reuters Medstat MarketScan Health and Productivity Management (HPM) and Commercial Claims and Encounter (CCE) datasets. Using a probit model, the impact of family hospitalization on the probability that a subsequent injury would be severe (above average indemnity costs) was estimated, adjusting for age, sex, hourly versus salaried status, industry sector, state, and family size.ResultsFamily hospitalization within 15 days before injury increased the likelihood that the injury would be severe (from 12.5% to 21.5%) and was associated with 40% higher indemnity costs and 50% higher medical costs. Hospitalizations over 30 days before injury had no impact.ConclusionThe observed higher severity of work injuries flollowing family hospitalizations suggests additional analyses may find higher injury rates as well, and that timely family leaves might help prevent severe workplace injuries.

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