WCRI Says Medical Care Costs For Injured Workers Low In Michigan

March 28, 2013

The costs of medical care for injured workers in Michigan is the lowest of any state in a 16-state study, according to CompScope Medical Benchmarks for Michigan, 13th Edition, conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

While medical payments in Michigan were lower than typical of the 16 states in the study, injured workers there reported outcomes that were typical compared with other states, WCRI said.

The study said the lower-than-typical medical payments per claim in Michigan were the result of lower payments per claim for services billed by physicians and hospitals and typical payments per claim for services billed by chiropractors and physical/occupational therapists.

The WCRI study also found medical payments per claim grew slower in Michigan during the 2005 to 2010 study period than medical payments in many study states. Medical payments per claim in Michigan did not change in 2010; they had been growing 4.8 percent per year in the prior four years.

The Cambridge-based WCRI said it is monitoring the impact of 2011 amendments to Michigan’s workers’ compensation law (Public Act 266), which extended the time of employer control of employee’s medical care from 10 days to 28 days. The Compensation Advisory Organization of Michigan has estimated that this legislative change would decrease medical payments in the range of 2 to 4 percent.

“Policymakers and system stakeholders usually want to know when the impact of these legislative changes will be seen and what the magnitude of changes will be,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s deputy director and counsel. “The early and indirect impact of extended time of employer choice of provider could be observed in several years.”

Duration of medical treatment and the percentage of medical payments made for care in networks are among the metrics WCRI will be monitoring to see if extended time of employer choice of medical provider will have an impact.

Source: WCRI

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