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Medical costs per claim and the components in 18 state workers’ compensation systems are analyzed in depth in a new series of studies, CompScope Medical Benchmarks, 19th Edition, released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

“The studies are designed to help policymakers and others benchmark state system performance. The benchmarks also provide an excellent baseline for identifying important trends and for tracking changes over time in response to workers’ compensation reforms,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.

The 18 study states are Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. There are individual reports for every state except Arkansas and Iowa.

The following are sample findings for some of the study states:

California: The study shows a decrease in medical payments per claim, evaluated as of March 2017, as a result of the continuing impact of Senate Bill 863.

Massachusetts: Medical payments per claim were the lowest of the 18 study states; many costs have been decreasing going back several years.

North Carolina: Decreases in medical payments per claim were the steepest of all study states (6 percent per year since 2013), likely reflecting the impact of recent fee schedule changes.

Pennsylvania: Faster-than-typical growth in medical payments per claim was driven by faster growth in hospital outpatient payments per claim.

Texas: Medical payments per claim decreased from 2014 to 2016, following several years of increasing medical costs.

Wisconsin: In contrast to moderate to rapid growth in prior years, Wisconsin experienced little growth in medical payments per claim since 2014.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches. It provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures.

WCRI’s diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.