Good work by Mark Binker and Cullen Browder:
Gov. Pat McCrory's claim that more 40 percent of the costs associated with workers compensation claims filed by state employees were related to fraud and abuse is raising skeptical questions from lawyers, union representatives and academics familiar with the issue.
"Our examination of workers compensation estimates that 40 percent of workers costs are related to abuse or outright fraud," McCrory said Wednesday night during the State of the State address. He used that figure to announce a shift in how those claims are handled and declare a new program to fight workers compensation waste.
The WRAL reporters made contacts with the DOI and the Industrial Commission to get confirmation of the statistics McCrory used in his speech Wednesday. They could not find anyone who would or could could make those figures available. They even contacted an academic, who said the only figures he had seen were not even close to 40%--they were more like 2-3%.
They also contacted local attorneys who specialize in worker's comp cases:
"But in more than twenty years working on these cases I’ve never seen a study that even remotely comes close to that number," [Leonard] Jernigan said, I would love to see those statistics."
Jernigan says the highest number he has seen for actual convictions in workers compensation fraud cases is 1 percent in Washington State. He said employers are more likely to commit the kind of fraud recently documented by the Office of the State Auditor.
This is just the most blatant number thrown around by Gov. McCrory in my opinion. I am trying to follow up on a couple of others he used, and like the WRAL reporters, so far no one is confirming those numbers or explaining where he got them.