Cost-effectiveness of a prework screening program for the University of Illinois at Chicago physical plant

Work. 2003;21(3):243-50.


A post-offer screening program jointly developed by the Occupational and Physical Therapy Departments (University of Illinois at Chicago) was first implemented in March 1998. A total of 712 screens were completed from 3-01-98 through 2-28-01. A quasi-experimental design was utilized to analyze changes in Workers' Compensation costs between the three-year period prior to, and the three-year period following program inception. Additionally, injury rates and mean cost per injury were compared between injuries sustained between 3-98 and 3-01 which were incurred by workers who had passed screening and those that had not been screened. Finally, the tabulated cost per screen and reduction in Workers' Compensation costs allowed derivation of a dollar spent/ dollar saved ratio. Dramatic declines in number of injuries, total costs and mean cost per case occurred in the three-year period following program inception. Mean cost per case also dramatically declined comparing injured workers who had passed screening versus those who had never been screened. Cost savings were over US dollars 18 per dollar spent on the program. While a number of mitigating variables may have accounted for some of the profound effects noted, decrease in average cost per case (indicating possible reduction in severity of injury) was consistent with existing literature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Chicago
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Personnel Selection / economics*
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workers' Compensation / economics