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Study: Nassau overpays on workers' compensation

Nassau County has overpaid for workers' compensation by $13 million since 2010, with one county employee in every eight now filing claims, according to a study by Nassau Comptroller George Maragos.

"The number of claims for job-related injuries has steadily climbed from one in forty . . . in 2002 to one in eight employees, on average, by 2011," Maragos said in a news release Thursday. Maragos said the recent ratio "may imply a lack of effective management" of claims or "possible fraud and abuse."

Brian Nevin, chief spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said: "We are assessing the comptroller's report. However, costs have not risen anywhere near $13 million. Since taking office, [the] administration has . . . recovered $5 million in fraud for taxpayers. If residents suspect fraud, I ask that they contact the county."

Jerry Laricchiuta, president of Civil Service Employee Association Local 830, the largest county union, said he had seen the report, though Maragos "is making pretty broad and irresponsible statements."

Maragos spokesman Jostyn Hernandez said Nassau's workers' compensation system is administered by a third party, the Triad Group LLC, headquartered in upstate Troy.

Maragos called for Triad's replacement, an in-depth analysis of multiple claims by the same individuals, investigations of suspected fraudulent claims and establishment of a task force to correct workplace hazards.

The comptroller's report said that during Triad's contract, processing costs have been 50 percent higher than projected.

Victoria Manes, president of Triad Group, said in a statement that she was "deeply troubled by both the tone and the gross inaccuracies detailed in the comptroller's report. We look forward to an opportunity to better educate the comptroller's office on our experience and the savings we have achieved as Nassau County's third-party administrator."

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