Pa. Workers’ Comp Study Says Injured Workers Satisfied

September 2, 2004

More than 83 percent of injured workers report they are satisfied with the medical care they receive from Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system, according to Labor and Industry Secretary Stephen M. Schmerin who cited results of a recent state survey.

The study, which received 1,965 responses from a mailing to 10,000 randomly chosen injured workers, also found that late payment of bills was the major concern among health care providers.

An independent medical access study conducted in late 2003 showed 83.4 percent of respondents reported they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with workers’ compensation medical care – up from 80.4 percent in 2002, Schmerin noted.

“Quality medical care for workers injured on the job is one of the major goals of our workers’ compensation system, and this report indicates that the majority of workers are receiving a high level of medical treatment,” Schmerin said.

“The report demonstrates considerable progress in educating our employers and insurers,” he said. “We will continue these successes. I am committed to having our workers’ compensation system provide the best medical service possible to all injured workers to assure their medical needs are met expeditiously and appropriately to help them return to the workforce.”

The study, mandated under the 1993 WC reform law, is performed annually. The report is prepared by TLG Research Associates of New Britain, Pa., for the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Findings of the study include:

— 83.4 percent of injured worker respondents reported they were
satisfied or very satisfied with medical care received, up from 80.4
percent in the 2002 study.

— 86.5 percent reported they had received access to treatment within 48 hours of their injury, up from 80.8 percent in 2002.

— 85.7 percent reported their doctor explained their diagnosis to them,
compared to 82.3 percent in 2002.

— 81.9 percent reported WC care was as good as health care from other sources, compared to 78.2 percent in 2002.

— 64.5 percent reported the doctor discussed treatment options with
them, compared to 58 percent in 2002.

— 67.9 percent reported they were allowed sufficient choice in selecting their medical provider, compared to 54.3 percent in 2002.

The study recommended that:
— the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation should continue education of employers, insurers, health care and repricers regarding medical coverage; and
— the bureau should consider addressing the late payment issue with
insurers/self-insured employers in a systematic way.

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