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Calif. workers comp claims show sharp increase in medical costs: Study

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—California has seen a “steep” increase in medical costs for workers compensation claims despite reforms to the system in the last several years that initially reduced costs, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

In a study released Thursday, the Cambridge, Mass.-based WCRI said California’s medical costs per workers comp claim increased 8% per year from 2005 to 2009. California saw a 30% overall decrease in costs from 2002 to 2005 after the state passed workers comp reforms during that period, the study said.

WCRI attributed the recent cost increase to such factors as an increased use of medical services in California, a workers comp fee schedule increase, and a higher percentage of claims that included costs for radiology services.