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The doctor factor


A new John Hopkins study confirms what comp professionals have long understood, doctors can make a huge difference in claims costs.

The study, published in the January edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that 3.7% of doctors accounted for more than 72% of comp costs.

Those findings were based on Louisiana Workers’ Comp Corp. claims data from 1998 to 2002. The study concluded that cost intensive docs substantially impact claims expense independent of injury severity.

The new research backs a 2005 John Hopkins study that found a network of select physicians can substantially impact treatment costs and help close claims quickly.

These findings are nothing new to the comp world. Claims managers have known for a long time that getting injured employees to the right doctor is essential for returning them to work quickly.

But it’s nice when science is on your side.

In this case, the researchers say their work could also help shape overall healthcare reform.

“As we continue to debate the nation’s health care system, it makes sense to analyze how practice patterns drive costs before instituting sweeping reform,” one of the researchers said.

But how many in Congress will actually take time to look at such studies before casting a vote?