Workers’ comp medical payments declined in Florida in 2020 due to pandemic: WCRI
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The amount paid out for medical payments, per claim, under workers’ compensation decreased by five per cent in Florida for 2020. That bucked a recent trend that had seen costs rising every year, and experts are pointing at COVID as the likely culprit.
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) released new data that showed medical payments per claim had been rising in the years before the pandemic. Between 2015 and 2019, payments rose four to five per cent per year.
“The recent decreases in medical payments per claim in Florida and many other states reflect some impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as postponed or avoided medical care due to concerns about COVID-19, temporary suspensions of non-emergency surgeries during the early months of the pandemic and declined usage of hospital care because of limitations to conserve hospital capacity,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice-president and counsel for WCRI.
The study, CompScope Medical Benchmarks for Florida, 23rd Edition, examined medical payments, prices, and utilization for various types of medical services in Florida and compared them with 17 other states. It also examined how these metrics of medical payments and care have changed, mainly for injuries from 2015 to 2020.
Since the report reflects experience on claims through March 2021, it provides a look at how the pandemic may have impacted non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in the early months of the pandemic.
In addition, the interstate comparison analysis in this study highlights some contrasting results in Florida. While prices paid for non-hospital professional services in Florida were the lowest of the study states, Florida had the highest payments per service for hospital outpatient care, likely reflecting features of the fee schedules for different types of providers in the state.
WCRI is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass. WCRI’s 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.