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Workers' compensation for nonmalignant asbestos-related lung disease.
Nevitt C; Daniell W; Rosenstock L
Am J Ind Med 1994 Dec; 26(6):821-830
Factors influencing the outcome of workers compensation claims for nonmalignant asbestos (1332214) related lung diseases were examined. The study group consisted of 157 males who filed workers compensation claims for nonmalignant asbestos related diseases from the University of Washington Occupational Medicine Clinic between July 1, 1982 and July 1, 1986. Sixty four claimants filed under the Washington State Fund (SF), 25 filed under a compensation system created by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act (Federal fund), and 68 filed under both the SF and Federal fund. The status of the claims on July 1, 1988 was determined. The influence of job exposure history, age, latency, race, and presence of radiographic abnormalities and pulmonary function dysfunction on claim outcome (accepted or rejected) was examined. Of the claims filed under the Federal fund, 92% were unresolved or could not be located by claims administrators. Approximately 66% of the claims filed under the SF jurisdiction and 34% of those filed under the combined SF and Federal fund jurisdiction were accepted. SF claims were rejected significantly more often under the combined SF and Federal fund jurisdiction than among the SF only jurisdiction, risk ratio (RR) 2.2. Claims submitted by claimants who had been ship scalers were rejected significantly more often than those submitted by individuals who had held other jobs, RR 1.81. Claims submitted by nonwhite patients were rejected significantly more often than those filed by white patients, RR 1.7. The association between claim outcome and race appeared to be partially due to jurisdictional conflicts. Age, latency, and the presence of radiographic abnormalities and pulmonary dysfunction were not significantly associated with claim outcome. The authors conclude that their analysis supports the common perception among health providers that the adjudication of occupational disease claims is influenced by undefined factors other than the presence, severity, or work relatedness of disease. The findings also indicate a need to scrutinize the handling of occupational disease claims by the Federal fund and to consider the effects of jurisdictional conflicts and race on claim outcomes.
NIOSH-Author; Asbestos-workers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Occupational-diseases; Disabled-workers; Racial-factors; Lung-disease; Occupational-medicine; Chest-X-rays; Shipyard-workers; Author Keywords: asbestosis; asbestos; occupational diseases; workers' compensation; race differential
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division