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Medical payments per claim in Kentucky were lower than the median in 18 states studied by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute, according to study results released Tuesday.
In its first in-depth study of medical payments in the Kentucky workers compensation system, researchers found that payments per claim for providers of nonhospital services were 22% below that of other states studied.
For its study, “CompScope Medical Benchmarks for Kentucky,” the institute studied key components of medical payments in workers compensation, such as prices paid for medical services, utilization of medical care and percentages of claims with certain services, in 18 states for injuries that occurred from 2009 to 2014.
The study also found that hospital outpatient payments per claim were 18% lower than typical; that hospital inpatient payments per claim were 28% below the state median; and that medical payments per claim changed little in Kentucky from 2009 to 2014.
“Medical payments per claim were below those of the typical state for all types of providers,” said Ramona Tanabe, the institute’s executive vice president and counsel, in a statement. “System features related to reimbursement and medical treatment likely were the main reasons for those results.”
Overall, states included in the study that represented the median in medical costs per claim included Georgia and North Carolina. The states with the highest amounts per claim were Wisconsin and Virginia, according to the study. The lowest were represented by Michigan and Massachusetts, with Kentucky coming in third.
A mix of remote and in-person physical therapy visits could lower costs for workers compensation payers while delivering the same results to injured workers as traditional care.