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The Workers Compensation Research Institute released an updated version of its study that helps compare prices paid for medical professional services across 36 states and monitor price changes from 2008 to 2020, which includes the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The study shows how prices paid for these services compare across states, how the prices have changed, and whether price growth is part of a broader phenomenon or unique to a state. The study also discusses the price comparison results and price trends in relation to the principal policy mechanism for regulating prices – fee schedules,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.

The study, WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, 13th Edition (MPI-WC), focuses on professional services (evaluation and management, physical medicine, surgery, major and minor radiology, neurological testing, pain management injections, and emergency care) billed by physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors. The following are among the study’s findings:

– – Prices paid for a similar set of professional services varied significantly across states, ranging from 29 percent below the 36-state median in Florida to 167 percent above the 36-state median in Wisconsin in 2020.
– – States with no fee schedules for professional services had higher prices paid compared with states with fee schedules – 44 to 179 percent higher than the median of the study states with fee schedules in 2020.
– – Most states with no fee schedules experienced faster growth in prices paid for professional services compared with states with fee schedules—the median growth rate among the non-fee schedule states was 37 percent from 2008 to 2020, compared with the median growth rate of 9 percent among the fee schedule states.
– – Eight study states (Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) had substantial changes (i.e., an increase or a decrease of 10 percent or more) in overall prices paid following major fee schedule changes during the study period.

This edition covers 36 states that represent 88 percent of the workers’ compensation benefits paid in the United States. These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The authors of this study are Dr. Rebecca Yang and Dr. Olesya Fomenko. To download a FREE copy of this report, visit WCRI’s website.