In research news:

A recent study published in the December Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that certain state workers’ comp policies can explain about five percent of the variation in medical costs associated with low back pain (LBP) claims. Dr. Glenn Pransky of Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and colleagues analyzed data on more than 59,000 LBP claims from 49 states. Of the overall five percent cost variation (which was adjusted based on worker characteristics), about half was explained by differences in state workers’ comp policies. Medical costs and disability times were both increased in states that had a longer wait time for receiving initial benefits and in employee choice states. States that had a schedule of fees reimbursed for specific medical services had longer disability times, as did states that limited the option to change providers. However, policies allowing a one-time change in the treating provider were linked to lower medical costs as well as shorter disability times.

Read more via Claims Journal here and access the study here.

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