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A provider of services to rehabilitating injured workers, MedRisk Inc. has seen post-surgical physical therapy cases drop by 26% in the last five years, according to an industry trends report the company released Thursday.
For its annual report, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based MedRisk examined recent changes, including relevant legislation, regulation and research, scouring its own data and other industry reports — including those released by the Boca Raton, Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance — to highlight trends in workers compensation, according to the report.
Focusing on the downward trend of physical therapy in comp, MedRisk found that from 2015 to 2018 there was a 11.19% reduction in number of physical therapy visits per case on average. In its report, MedRisk said the change is driven by a combination of factors including “quality management practices such as the application of evidence-based guidelines, expert providers,” coaching among physical therapists and “clinical recommendations.”
The duration of physical therapy care was also down by 24.97% over that same time frame, according to the report.
The report also highlights NCCI’s recent finding that the cost of physical therapy in workers compensation is nearly three times higher than in group health.
“While per-unit costs are slightly higher in comp, the vast majority of these costs come from utilization,” MedRisk Chief Clinical and Product Officer Mary O’Donoghue said in a statement.
In its own report, NCCI found that workers compensation patients receive 50% more visits with 20% more modalities per visit than group health counterparts.
Injured workers who take time off work to recover, and whose treatment includes more than 15 sessions of physical therapy, are out of the workforce longer and are six times more likely to cost more, according to a study published this month.