The state legislative auditor’s office reported that Louisiana's Workers’ Compensation costs for state employees is higher than most states because of outdated billing practices and procedural oversights.

In an audit conducted to evaluate and to identify ways to control workers’ comp costs, auditors found totals for indemnity, medical and expense costs increased nearly 50% since the last audit in 2006. The total Workers’ Compensation costs accrued from 2006 through 2013 added up to $408.4 million.

The audit also lists the average cost per Workers’ Compensation claim was calculated to be $53,513.

The state’s indemnity costs are higher than other states for two main reasons, the audit reported. First, there is currently no limit to how long individuals can receive temporary total benefits. Had benefits been limited to two years, the state would have saved more than $37 million. Secondly, Louisiana workers are off the job longer than employees in other states.

Also, auditors determined prescription drug costs are higher here in Louisiana and has more drug prescriptions per claim, not to mention that Louisiana ranks near top of the lists for long-term use of prescription narcotics.

According to findings from the audit, state agencies could cut workers' compensation costs across the board by using private industry standards such as drug testing and gathering information about employees' pre-existing injuries. With the current, outdated practices in place, state employees are not required to take a drug test following on-the-job injuries.

To view the full audit, visit the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Web site click here.