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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A simulation of case management operations at the Workers' Compensation Board: a decision support tool for human resource allocation Lin, Claire

Abstract

The challenges in human resource allocation drive the present project. Conducted at an office of the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia (the WCB), the project aims at developing a simulation model of claim management operations to facilitate decision-making in resource allocation. In this context, resource allocation refers to the alignment of staff to claims. The components of the problem include the number of staff required and the types of staff required, given targeted system performance. The volume of claims, the profile of claims, the Workers Compensation Act, the board's business guidelines and the board's operational targets all influence staffing requirement. It is far from straightforward to answer the following questions: what is the optimal level of staffing? What is the right mix of skills? And what is the proper alignment of staff with claims? How will the system perform given a certain staffing level? How will change in the profile of incoming claims influence staffing requirement? A discrete-event simulation model was developed as a decision support tool in this project. The model was used to evaluate several resource allocation scenarios. Simulation showed that timeliness measures such as time to decision and time to closure would improve with additional resources, but the improvement was not drastic. At the staffing level of 14, compared to the current level of 12, time to decision for unadjudicated claims would reduce by 6%. Simulation further showed that specialization of staff by claim type might have a negative impact on system performance measures, because economics of scale were compromised. Finally, simulation showed that if Site Visits, a required procedure for adjudicating claims related to Activity-Related Soft Tissue Diseases, could be conducted by dedicated personnel, time to decision for these claims might reduce by as high as 60%.

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