Injured workers in Florida have more trouble accessing health care services than those in other states. Wisconsin, injured workers have higher return-to-work rates.
Those findings are from new studies by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) which compare outcomes of injured workers across 15 states. The outcomes examined in these studies include recovery of physical health and functioning, return to work, earnings recovery, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care.
Why compare states?
“The goal of the studies is to provide information about injured workers’ experiences with the workers’ compensation system. By examining outcomes of injured workers, policymakers and stakeholders can better understand how different state systems compare in order to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve system performance,” said Bogdan Savych, an economist at WCRI and one of the authors of the studies.
The research, Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers, is a product of an ongoing, multiyear effort by WCRI to collect and examine data on the outcomes of medical care achieved by injured workers in a growing number of states. There are 15 individual studies for the following states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Some key findings:
- Florida: Workers in the state reported outcomes that were similar to the median study state on some of the key measures, but reported somewhat higher rates of problems accessing desired services, higher rates of problems accessing desired providers, and higher dissatisfaction with overall medical care.
- Michigan: Workers in the state reported outcomes that were generally similar to the median study state on most measures and somewhat lower than the median study state on two of the measures—workers reported a somewhat lower-than-typical rate of not achieving substantial return to work and a somewhat lower-than-typical rate of problems getting desired medical services.
- Pennsylvania: Workers in the state reported outcomes that were often in the middle of the range of outcomes observed in other study states. One exception was a somewhat lower-than-typical likelihood that workers reported “big problems” getting the services that they wanted.
- Virginia: Workers in the state reported outcomes that were often in the middle of the range of outcomes observed in other study states.
- Wisconsin: Workers in the state, when compared with workers in a typical study state, reported somewhat higher rates of substantial return to work, lower rates of problems accessing desired providers and services, and higher rates of satisfaction with medical care.
To purchase these studies, visit WCRI’s website at http://www.wcrinet.org/recent_pub.html.
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. WCRI 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.