Workers’ comp is worth checking in on every now and then because the majority of the costs are now for medical claims and many of the same techniques as used in health insurance are applied to workers’ comp health costs. The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute has released its annual report on developments in the field. (WCRI Report) Highlights of WCRI’s work include studies on pain medication use and physician dispensing, especially of these paid drugs, often opioids. Pain drug abuse is a countrywide problem and it is a top priority for workers’ compensation systems. As a result of the WCRI studies and other work, a number of states have passed laws regulating how these drugs are prescribed. Medical fee schedules are another problematic area, with great variance among states. The general fee-for-service nature of workers’ compensation medical care likely leads to overtreatment and excessive utilization. In some states, attempts are being made to revise the medical fee schedules to use Medicare reimbursement methods or to otherwise ensure that payments are not more than in the commercial health insurance world. WCRI produces CompScope, a data analysis product that allows states and insurers to compare themselves to benchmarks and identify opportunities for improvement. The report gives a good summary to track important issues on the health care side of workers’ comp.
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About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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