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Aggressive medical care at the beginning of a workers’ compensation claim results in reduced costs, shorter claims duration, and lower litigation rates, according to research from Harbor Health Systems, a One Call Care Management company. The pilot study findings across four categories of injuries showed that the more aggressive approach to care achieved:reductions in claim duration from 13 – 20 percent, reductions in indemnity costs from 19 – 61 percent and reductions in litigation from 7.2 – 16 percent.

The data was presented during a panel discussion at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference, Las Vegas, on November 21, entitled: “Physicians Speak Out on Whether More Care Early Equals Better Outcomes.” Panelists included Douglas Benner, MD, Chief Medical Officer, EK Health, David C. Deitz, MD, Vice President, National Medical Director, Commercial Insurance Strategic Practices, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Greg Moore, MPH, President of Harbor Health Systems, a One Call Care Management Company.

“Our objective was to investigate the differences in overall claims outcomes when comparing aggressive and conservative care in workers’ compensation,” said Moore. “We found that when knowledgeable and experienced physicians were allowed to perform some common specific surgical procedures prior to the recommendations of the guidelines, the outcomes improved. We believe that these findings show the importance of integrating best-in-class physicians with the use of evidence-based guidelines. They validate the importance of outcomes-based networks by supporting the concept of working with experienced, proven providers and accelerating care when you can trust the diagnosis.”

The pilot study analyzed information from more than 700,000 claims for four procedures: ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) repair, knee menisectomy, shoulder rotator cuff repair, and carpal tunnel injuries.

Harbor Health Systems’ analysis has previously demonstrated that superior performing physicians produce superior outcomes, and utilized this information to develop benchmarking tools that identify these top doctors for inclusion in best-in-class provider networks. This new research project refines the characteristics that distinguish high-performing physicians and the treatment approaches that achieve better results.