WCRI benchmarks effects of reforms on WC systems

WCRI benchmarks effects of reforms on WC systems

WCRI benchmarks effects of reforms on WC systems The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) released recent data examining the effects of policy reforms in 18 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Massachusetts.

The studies, CompScope, Medical Benchmarks, 17th Edition, look into trends in payments, prices, and utilization of medical care for injured workers. 

Among others, it found that reforms have affected workers’ compensation systems in varying degrees.

For instance, the study revealed that medical payments per claim in California decreased 3% in 2014, following the approval of relevant laws and fee schedule changes in 2013 and 2014.
In contrast, the same item increased in Illinois by an annual average of 3% between 2012 and 2014. However, despite the spike in medical payments per claim, rates in the state moved closer to the average, which can be attributed to the reforms undertaken by the state in 2011.

Similarly, medical payments per claim grew in Virginia, albeit at the fastest clip among all the study states from 2009 to 2014. The high growth is largely due to hospital and nonhospital costs. The study further reported that years of debate in the state culminated in a law establishing maximum reimbursement rates for workers’ compensation services beginning 2018.

“The reports are useful to identify where medical cost and care patterns may be changing,” Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and counsel for WCRI, stated. “They also help identify where medical payments 1per claim or utilization may differ from other states.”

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