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The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has released the 2020 California Workers’ Compensation Aggregate Medical Payment Trends report comparing medical payment information from 2018 to 2020.

This report analyzes medical payment and utilization trends by provider type, service locations and different service types. The report also includes an analysis on utilization and cost of opioid prescriptions and physical medicine services over time and by region.

General Trends in the Medical Payments and Transactions in CY2020

– – Overall medical payments declined significantly, largely driven by a sharp drop in the number of claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
– – Average medical payment per claim and the number of transactions per claim started to increase despite the continuous declines in prior years, potentially due to a decrease in the number of smaller medical-only claims in 2020.
– – Utilization of telehealth services increased sharply, in particular, during the pandemic

Fastest Growing Physician Services Procedures and Therapeutic Group

– – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation procedures continued to grow and are the fastest growing physician services.
– – Use of Analgesics Anti-Inflammatory increased more significantly than that of any other therapeutic groups.

Opioid and Physical Medicine Utilization and Costs

– – The share of claims that involve opioid prescriptions continued to decrease. Suburban and rural areas have seen higher shares of claims involving opioid prescriptions, while urban areas generally have lower shares.
– – On the contrary, the share of claims that involve physical medicine services increased steadily. Urban areas had a higher share of claims involving physical medicine services, while more suburban and rural areas had lower shares.

The report is available in the Research section of the WCIRB website.