By Jeff Pettegrew
Created and managed by the non-profit trade group, Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC), QCARE is a new employer designation available on-line, at no cost, for private-sector companies in Texas. QCARE (which stands for Qualified Compensation Alternative for Recovering Employees) provides a vibrant, effective, and legal alternative to traditional workers’ compensation. Eligibility includes a commitment to providing workers with an alternative injury benefit program that satisfies 10 key QCARE standards.
Responsible Texas employers are moving away from what was once referred to as “Opt-Out” to the new QCARE designation. This designation demonstrates that a Texas injury benefit program is committed to high industry standards, including transparency, fairness, quality and compliance with both state and federal laws.
We all know that Texas injury benefit programs deliver coverage to injured workers that is responsive, with minimal red tape delays. They also provide access to the best medical providers and facilities in the state. In simple terms, these programs aim is to treat each injured worker like you would a family member or loved one, and decades of state-wide results are compelling proof.
As detailed on ARAWC’s website, these programs center on five key work injury goals:
- Employee Advocacy;
- Active Engagement;
- Better Medical Outcomes;
- Improved Benefits; and
- Lower Costs.
The QCARE designation uniquely recognizes those Texas injury benefit programs that are striving to do everything right. QCARE is the result of analysis and research from more than 30 years of medical outcomes achieved and delivered by eligible Texas employers. These organizations are of all types and sizes. QCARE designated employers focus on providing sought-after workplaces that are popular with covered workers. Each employer plan is provided in writing to employees at the time of hire and must be legally compliant.
Furthermore, with no “exclusive remedy” liability protection, as found in statutory worker’s compensation insurance, QCARE covered employees have a second avenue of recovery with the right to sue their employer if its negligence caused the injury or illness. This tort exposure serves as a practical way to ensure the employers provide the best workplace protection and post-injury benefits possible.
Millions of Texas workers have benefited from the on-going refinements and enhancements found in this alternative to workers’ compensation. Better medical outcomes, immediate wage replacement, and faster return-to-work under QCARE programs set new industry benchmarks across the country for employee advocacy, quality of care, efficiencies, and employee retention. To date, this responsibility is only available in the thriving economy of the Lone Star State, but QCARE achievements continue to inspire improvements in workers’ compensation around the country.
ARAWC attests that employee injury benefit programs and their resulting achievements are the right thing to do for workers in the 21st century. ARAWC’s focus has always been to raise the bar for eligible companies seeking the best outcomes possible for injured workers. It has sought member input over many decades from a wide range of industries, including their injured workers, as well as treating physicians, attorneys, insurance professionals, thought leaders, and claims administrators.
ARAWC seeks to deliver the highest standard of clarity, advocacy, and credibility through a responsible injury benefit program option and the QCARE designation.