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STATE OF MINNESOTA SELECTS UNITED HEALTHCARE TO MANAGE WORKERS COMPENSATION PROGRAM

 MINNEAPOLIS, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The State of Minnesota Department of Employee Relations (DOER) is taking a leadership role in solving workers compensation issues by contracting with United HealthCare Corporation (NYSE: UNH) to provide managed health care services to its employees who experience work-related injuries. The contract with United HealthCare is effective July 1, 1993.
 The state, with more than 40,000 employees, expects to save a minimum of $1.3 million in workers compensation benefits during the first year of its contract with United HealthCare. These savings will be accomplished by referring injured employees to a limited network of providers who specialize in occupational health and therapies. In addition, utilization management and other proven managed care techniques will be applied to help raise the quality of care injured employees receive while moderating cost increases.
 Specifically, United HealthCare will help the state's Workers Compensation Program:
 -- process the payment of medical bills,
 -- request medical records,
 -- analyze the results of medical treatments,
 -- implement cost-effective guidelines for health care professionals,
 -- build provider networks to improve cost-effectiveness and health care delivery,
 -- seek continuous quality improvement,
 -- facilitate injured workers' access to services and early treatment,
 -- help injured workers find the most appropriate treatments, and
 -- enhance communications through a network of payers, providers and patients
 "We believe United HealthCare will help us make the best use of scarce public resources by affectively managing our employees' workers compensation claims," said Maria Gomez, manager of the state's Workers Compensation Program. "United HealthCare makes it easy for state employees who have been injured on the job to access medical care and return to their jobs as quickly as possible."
 Like health care costs, workers compensation costs have risen sharply. The average cost of a workers compensation claim has tripled over the past 10 years, now exceeding $19,000. Nationally, employers poured more than $70 billion into the workers compensation system in 1991, twice the bill of only six years ago.
 In the State of Minnesota, workers compensation benefit costs for injured state employees exceeded $16 million during fiscal year 1992, a 19.2 percent increase over fiscal year 1991 costs.
 The Minnesota Legislature revamped the state's workers compensation program in 1992, making several modifications to lower costs. One of these modifications allows employers to contract with managed care organizations (MCOs) to provide health care services for injured workers. United HealthCare through its service affiliate Medica is certified as an MCO by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
 Managed care has an excellent track record of containing health care costs and improving access to and quality of care. While working with qualified occupational health care providers, the MCO can reduce costs through early intervention, return-to-work initiatives, treatment guidelines, pre-authorization, utilization review and other managed care techniques.
 The program developed by United HealthCare for the state uses a team approach to recovery; employers and health care providers work together with the injured workers. This approach increases the likelihood that the employee will return to work, even if in a limited capacity or with different responsibilities, thereby significantly reducing the costs of the state's Workers Compensation Program and improving the employee's ability to fully recover more quickly.
 This approach also helps promote a high standard of service by providers who follow MCO treatment standards and additional guidelines developed by United HealthCare's workers compensation experts when these providers treat injured State of Minnesota employees. These guidelines extend to the treatment of repetitive trauma of the upper extremity, low back pain, diagnostic medical imaging, hospitalization and surgery.
 A statewide network of physicians, physical therapists, podiatrist and chiropractors will provide occupational services to injured State of Minnesota employees. "Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for State of Minnesota employees to access a provider in this network," said Gomez. The network was developed by Medica, the health plan managed by United HealthCare in Minnesota.
 United HealthCare, a national leader in health care management, has managed workers compensation benefits since 1985. Since then, the company has reviewed more than 60,000 cases nationwide. Individual clients report saving as much as $4.3 million per year in workers compensation costs since implementing United HealthCare's managed care program.
 -0- 6/15/93
 /CONTACT: Beth Voigt, communications coordinator of Minnesota Department of Employee Relations, 612-296-5841; David Koppe, vice president, treasurer and controller, 612-939-7760, or Susan Busch, manager, public relations/marketing communications, 612-936-7347, both of United HealthCare/
 (UNH)


CO: United HealthCare Corporation ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU:

AL -- MN003 -- 2064 06/15/93 11:12 EDT
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Date:Jun 15, 1993
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