Baltimore City Pays Big for Worker's Comp
Updated: Monday, November 26 2012, 10:46 PM EST
Baltimore City taxpayers pay millions of dollars in worker's compensation claims. It's another Waste Watch alert, with the city paying for more claims than even the state government. Maryland lawyer Byron Warnken did the research.
He reveals the data in his new book called "The Comp Pinkbook." "I would say Baltimore is a pretty dangerous place to work," says Warnken.
Warnken created The Comp Pinkbook by using a computer program to scrape public data from the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commmission's database.
According to the pink book, between January 2011 and June 2012, Baltimore city awarded just over 2-thousand payouts to workers for a total of nearly 30-million dollars- the largest number of payouts in the state. Warnken calls it revealing data on spending by the city and the state's top employers, kept secret, until his probing research.
Warnken says his interest in quality and results motivated his efforts. "I didn't do it to be kind of a "muckraker in any way," Warnken said. "Although, as the process went along, I believe that public data should be public and I believe that it should be easy to access," says Warnken.
City officials say their comp numbers are higher because their employees have riskier jobs. Still, City Councilman Carl Stokes says the high number of claims warrants a closer look.
"Generally we should be looking at auditing all of the numbers as frequently as we can to be sure there is not fraud, waste, abuse. And in this case, there may be none of that," says Stokes. According to The Pinkbook, the most frequent injuries were back problems.