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December 15, 2015

Professional Fee Schedules Yield Lower Prices Paid for Injured Workers

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

A new study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute investigated prices paid for medical professional services for injured workers. The study found that prices were “lower and growing slower in states with price regulations in the form of fee schedules, as compared with states that do not have them in place.”

The study, “Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, Seventh Edition,” examined 31 states, including Wisconsin, over the span of six years. The 31 states represent nearly 85 percent of the workers’ comp benefits paid in the United States, according to the study.

Rebecca Yang, a senior public policy analyst at WCRI and an author of the study says, “Increasing costs for medical care for treating injured workers have been a focus of public policymakers and system stakeholders. This study will help them understand…if the reason for price growth in their state is part of a national phenomenon or whether the causes are unique to their state and, hence, subject to local management or reform.”

According to the study, six states without fee schedules in 2013 and 2014, including Wisconsin, had 27 to 60 percent higher prices paid than states with fee schedules. The study found that the prices paid in Wisconsin were the highest of the study states: “more than twice the median of the study states with fee schedules.”

A 2014 Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Experts article discussed a potential proposal of medical fee schedules, in the hopes of lowering the prices paid for medical services. The article said that unfortunately for the workers’ comp system, “Certainly the medical provider community overall rejected the proposal.”

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