IAIABC 3rd Annual Innovation Award


Thank you for your submissions!

The submission period for the 3rd Annual Innovation Award is now closed. The recipient will be notified by June 29, 2018.   

About the Innovation Award 

Jurisdictional agencies continually face issues they must either respond to or proactively address. Many of these challenges will not be solved through traditional methods, and agencies need to be creative in finding solutions to hopefully produce positive outcomes. The IAIABC Innovation Award recognizes jurisdictions for using innovative initiatives that address challenges in workers’ compensation regulation and administration.

The Innovation Award was previously awarded to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (2017), the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (2016), and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (2016). 


The Innovation Award winner will receive one complimentary registration for the IAIABC 104th Convention, October 1 – 4, 2018 in Williamsburg, Virginia, plus a $500 travel stipend. The winner will be asked to present their innovation during the Convention (date and time to be determined). The winning innovation will also be featured in the December 2018 issue of IAIABC Perspectives Magazine.


Please contact Heather Lore, IAIABC Senior Manager of Membership and Communications athlore@iaiabc.org.

Thank You to the Innovation Award Sponsor

WorkComp Strategies


2nd Annual Innovation Award (2017)

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was recognized as the winner of the 2017 IAIABC Innovation Award for its innovation and impressive results in building and implementing its pharmacy program.

Ohio’s commitment to addressing pharmaceutical issues in workers’ compensation, including the opioid epidemic, began with a focus on an injured worker’s functional life and ability to return to work. Through multi-stakeholder partnerships, the Ohio BWC created dependency thresholds, collected prescriber information and tracked and monitored utilization, developed a formulary, and in 2016, became the first state to move their prescribing guidelines into state code.

The initiatives undertaken led to new claim opioid utilization decrease by 48% over 4 years; a decrease of 19.5 million doses prescribed between 2010 and 2016; and opioid use for chronic pain dropped by 11% over 4 years. The Ohio BWC also reports a 50:1 return on investment in the program.

Inaugural Innovation Award (2016)

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries was recognized for its “Return to Work Partnerships Program,” and their initiatives to help workers heal and return to work following a work injury. Over the past two years, the Department has changed the culture of its system and vocational services to ensure return to work is its primary focus, enhancing the coordination of care and maintaining engagement of injured workers in the workforce. 

Vocational services are now utilized much earlier in a claim, resulting in a median decrease of 160 days of time-loss before services start. “More effective partnerships with our internal vocational experts and private sector vocational counselors has been an important step in our efforts to improve return to work,” comments Vickie Kennedy, Assistant Director for Insurance Services for the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, “Return to work improves recovery for injured workers and reduces costs for Washington employers.”

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission was recognized for “Innovation and Automation of ADR in Virginia,” an initiative to enhance the efficiency of mediation services within the agency. The project effectively integrated the Commission’s mediation efforts creating a streamlined electronic process for case assessment, issue identification, scheduling, and resolution.

“Automation of ADR services has allowed us to meet the increased demand for mediation services while at the same time processing and resolving claims more efficiently. It is a cost saver and time saver – a win-win for injured workers and Virginia employers alike,” commented Deborah Blevins, Deputy Commissioner for the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.