Rising hospital costs are a concern across the United States and in Massachusetts. But a recent study released by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) provides policy makers and stakeholders with a key tool to better identify and understand the costs of workers’ compensation hospital and outpatient treatment.
The WCRI study is a workers’ compensation cost index that allows researchers to compare outpatient care in hospitals from state to state, track changes in the costs of certain care activities and measure the changes of costs. The index will also provide a baseline for assessing the impacts of various reforms, such as the recent reforms passed in Illinois.
The study also measured Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) costs for surgeries that are most commonly associated with common on-the-job injuries that result in workers’ compensation cases.
The WCRI study covered a seven year time period from 2003 to 2009. It encompassed 17 of the largest states that collectively pay approximately 60 percent of all workers’ compensation benefits in the United States.
Findings of the Study
The study had a number of notable findings. Most significantly, the study shows that states without pre-determined fee schedules had much higher hospital outpatient and ASC costs. In fact, the costs were 27 to 73 percent higher for the most common surgeries in states that had no fee schedules.
The WCRI study found that hospital outpatient and ASC costs varied significantly from state to state.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be complex and varies based on the state where you live. If you are injured while on-the-job in Massachusetts consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can explain and assist you with the filing process.
Source: Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, “Hospital Outpatient Cost Index for Workers’ Compensation,” Rui Yang and Olesya Fomenko, Jan. 2012.