By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia City Controller, after an audit of the Workers Compensation Program, says taxpayers are footing the bill for skyrocketing workers’ comp claims.

Controller Alan Butkovitz looked at one fiscal year, 2011, and found the city of Philadelphia paid nearly $54-million for workers’ comp claims – a 25% increase from what it paid five years earlier.

He blames way too many physical therapy treatments and hundreds of employees filing multiple claims – nearly 400 who filed 11, most of them from the Streets Department – and more and 2,200 who filed five to ten claims, during their respective employment.

Drilling down to physical therapy cases, Butkovitz found what he calls a staggering number of P-T sessions – visits that were well beyond the average three-month standard regimen:

“The whole question is the management of the cases.”

In dozens of open claims that his office tested, auditors found city workers making 30-or more visits, which spanned up to 15-months beyond the date of the injury:

“In New York state, the standard is 12-20, and the average in the profession is 9.”

Butkovitz says Risk Management should insist that the third-party administrator instruct its case managers to get a better handle on progress the claimant is making – and the point at which therapy is excessive.